Biography and Artistic Statement

Rafael Rix is an abstract artist, art historian and medieval palaeographer, based in London.

Rafael works mainly in ink and flashe (art-grade vinyl emulsion) on paper. He likes ink for its minerality and its scope to create both translucence and opacity. He favours flashe rather than acrylic for its depth of colour, lightfastness, dilutability and matte finish. 

Rafael Rix studied classics at Oxford University and art history and medieval palaeography at the Courtauld Institute. 

His work has been exhibited and sold in Italy and (before the invasion of Ukraine) Moscow. 

Rix’s grounding in manuscripts is reflected in his work which is sharply graphic and shows a fascination with texture, overlaid colours, the interaction of pigment and surface and a very physical sense of having been made

Though his work is abstract, classical themes often provide the initial inspiration for his pieces. He begins each painting with a general idea of form and colour palette, but lets the details emerge randomly. 

“No plan survives first contact with the paper. Abstract painting is like playing chess against the painting surface. You make your move, your first mark - the way it looks once you’ve made it is the paper’s move back to you. It’s a fluid and unpredictable process. Like chess, it gets more complex and challenging with each successive move”. 

He applies paint or ink with brushes, nibs, or by relief printing with found objects, handmade plates or bars. All his works are one-offs. Rix trained in screen printing but disliked the repetitiveness of making multiples.

“I prefer to concentrate on creation rather than the reproduction of an idea. Unrepeatability – the sense that something is the product of a mark made at a specific moment which will never recur has always fascinated me – both in historic manuscripts and in art”. 


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