‘Repetition is Truth – Via Dolorosa’ at @newportstreetgallery_london presents a body of abstract paintings by Rachel Howard inspired by the Station of the Cross, ‘Dolorosa’ being the path taken by Jesus to St Cavalry. Howard ingeniously draws on this traditional art historical subject to make broader comments about human brutality. This painting, entitled ‘All Rights Reserved’, depicts the degradation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib during the Iraq war, a moment in which the capacity for human rights abuse was laid bare for the world to see. It makes specific reference to a photograph of Ali Shallal al-Qaisi stood on a box, a hood pulled over his head, arms spread wide, with wires attached to his fingers and genitals. The cloak is rendered with drips of painting redolent of a Gerard Richter’s canvas: it’s beautiful and serene, yet made harrowing and haunting by the unmistakable silhouette of the hood.
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