Life Cafe Blog
Rachel Echanique @ Life Cafe 983

Exhibition Review
Raquel Echanique
Life Café Bushwick
8th – 20th November 2011

The View from the Bar

Rachel Echanique

By John Sunderland

I always think first impressions count. The first impression I had when seeing this exhibit was; there are five screaming women in the bar that weren’t here yesterday!

It ‘s a bit of a shock actually, like having all your ex-wives show up at brunch and start up on you again!
However relax, once seated at the bar and looking back, you see that the your personal connection has nothing to do with it, these females are not screaming- they are exploding, exploding with energy which is unraveling before your eyes.

The focus of each painting is the mouth. The mouths of the subjects are wide-open and crazy with joy, ecstasy or fear, or all three; it’s up to the viewer. Secondary impressions come, the image of the girl in the strobe-lit disco, a still frame from a riot scene in a magazine; the moment your wife gave birth.
Those images fade along with a catalogue of others; then your brain says, hang on these aren’t faces, they are moments when whiplashes of paint, the flashes of blades of color and line, the un-coiling of springs, conspired momentarily to form faces of women unknown.

Raquel Echanique is the latest artist from the HART950 Gallery; my last review of was about drawing; Echanique is a painter, with a sure-hand mastery over what she wants the brush to do; it is she who blows up on the canvas in these works, and the results are sheer energy in the form of controlled explosions. And after you have taken them in, you realize that the motion has not stopped, the explosion continues to expand.
Somewhere in the artist’s mind the moments before each frozen frame exist, and somewhere beyond, her whiplash brushes conjure up other
moments of joy, ecstasy or fear, as they coil and thrash on into the future.