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Essay on Rachel Howard’s “Paintings of Violence (Why I Am Not a Mere Christian)”

Rachel Howard’s 2011-13 installation of ten paintings based on the Ten Commandments is the inspiration for a new essay by English novelist, critic and journalist Will Self. Measuring the height of the artist and the width of her arm span (66” x 66”), these works are a continuation of her examination of religion and violence, hypocrisy and brutality, humanity and mortality. The title of the series of paintings is taken from two opposing polemics, “Why I Am Not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell on the one side, and “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis on the other.

Rachel Howard lives and works in London and Gloucestershire. Her works are in public and private collections around the world and have been shown internationally, including two long-term solo installations at the Bohen Foundation (2003-04 and 2007).

Will Self lives and works in London. His prize-winning work has been translated into 22 languages and includes 10 novels, several novellas, and scores of stories and essays.