Rafaela de Ascanio
Rafaela de Ascanio (b.1986, lives and works in London) studied at Central Saint Martins (2004), The Courtauld Institute of Art (MA, 2010) and Turps Banana Painting Programme (2019). She has presented a solo exhibition at Liliya Art Gallery in May 2021, and took part in Cracked, Tristan Hoare Gallery (2021), and Focus on the Female, Cynthia Corbett Gallery (2021). Two-person exhibitions include Back to Back, Bowes Parris Gallery (2021), The Deccan Traps, Aindrea Contemporary, London (2019), and The Body is a Blessed Juicy Fruit, Lamb Arts, London (2018), and recent group shows Monster/Beauty: An Exploration of the Female/Femme Gaze, Lychee One, London (2020); Paintings On, And With Paper, Cob Gallery, London (2020); Clay Today: A Showcase Of Ceramics In Isolation, Cynthia Corbett Gallery (2020); A Room of One’s Own, The Koppel Project, London (2019).
De Ascanio’s paintings and sculptures work in tandem, compiling layers of iconography and exchanging symbols to explore the female experience through differing processes. Her paintings have a tropical colour palette, attributed to her early years spent in the volcanic Canary Islands. She sculpts clay into anatomical forms that are glazed with flowing circular narratives and fired to create enduring stone bodies. De Ascanio portrays the female in defiant guises, empowering both her and the viewer. Images emerge from autobiographical events, fantastical symbols from sci-fi film and literature, esoteric pagan practices, and ‘fire and brimstone’ altarpieces. Disrupting the patriarchal narratives propagated throughout art history, she revisualises the female as the protagonist and leader, with sexual ownership, and psychological resilience.