Saturday, December 8, 2012

What I've been doing for the past three months...

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Wardian Case
The Conservatory
The Conservatory (detail)

One of the disadvantages of art school is that various assignments are thrown at you from different classes with only a week to finish each one. I have a hard time working this way. I feel a bit schizophrenic trying to complete three very different assignments in a hurry and they often come out looking like three different people created them. I am very much a monogamous long-term relationship kind of girl when it comes to art.

This semester I had the opportunity to spend three months on one project (though I still had two other studio classes competing for my attention) and I felt much more at ease. I've had these images of terrariums in my head for a while, prodding to get out. But I've just never had the time to give them the attention they needed.

Anyway, I've been holed up in a room for the past three months painting like a crazy person on these things you see here. I probably lost a few brain cells in the process, what with the fumes from the oil paint and chemicals. I also put all my other classes on hold and now have to frantically catch up, but for the most part I am happy with the outcome. There are a few things I would have liked to refine and things I would like to add, but I was on a deadline to complete these for a student-held show at the end of the semester. 

If you're going, what the hell am I looking at here, Rachel? please read the following artist statement, which was included in the show next to the paintings:

The methods in which humans display the curiosities of nature fascinate me. From terrariums to W√ľnderkammers, display cases from the Victorian era are often as elaborate and beautiful as what they contain. To me, terrariums are personal microcosms of nature. There is something wonderful and fascinating about viewing or possessing the natural world in a compact glass container. With these paintings, I wanted to encapsulate this feeling and explore a relationship between the man-made and the natural world. I am particularly interested in the intricate details in nature and wanted to set them against the ornate craftsmanship of Victorian terrariums. I hoped to reflect my fascination with detail and these forms of beauty in the way I created these environments. 

Mostly, I just really wanted to paint some terrariums. 

These are on display in the ISB gallery at RISD until December 14th along with some other damn fine art if you want to see them in person. 

Some pictures of the process:

Please excuse the picture of the young woman flipping you off (painting by Marion Peck). I was quite inspired by her, however.
There's paint all over my apartment. There goes my deposit.

Palettes to me are like that scene in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, when she's trying on all her shoes and eating pastries to Bow Wow Wow's I Want Candy. They're just tasty.  


  1. Rachel! These are so absolutely fantastic and beautiful. Love watching your work progress through the lens of the internet. Wish I could see this in person though. Hope you're doing well!


    1. Thanks so much Seetha! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when you comment :). I wish you could see them in person too, they look way better.