JULY

sent JULY 28 2017 posted 9.11.17

WHAT IVE BEEN MAKING

Night Scene.
Night is the time for adventure, laughter, stories.
Our ancestors strengthened their relationships around fires and by candle light. They engaged with the spirit world and expressed their dreams. Firelight is for intimate conversation, insight, and meditation.  We keep these rituals today.

My friend Tim said just the other day that in his view, all art is both conceptual and political. I never thought of myself as a political artist before, but it made me think.
Artists have always made work that spoke out against society’s ills, acting as a time capsule on the way we live now. Last year I had the opportunity to see the MCA show Mastery, by Kerry James Marshall, which blew me away. The work was so relevant to our times, so smart, so evocative.

Could I really make art that is quiet and soft and dark, and also political?

Many of us Americans are living under leaders right now who are steering us opposite of our moral compass. Black Lives Matter, Women’s marches and LGBTQ rights aside (for the moment), our planet is under duress and south of nothing is being done about it by our president and his team.
Some disturbing elements of this year’s political agenda has been cutting funds to the National Parks (who have literally gone rogue…), pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and loudly denying the very existence of global warming when the EPA removed climate change information from the White House website. 

Our wild places are under threat.
What will become of them?

And on more personal levels, our rising anxieties and feelings of loneliness are amplified by decreasing access to face to face time, skin to skin contact, nourishing foods, close community, and traditions of non-material varieties.

But I digress.

The questions I have been mulling while working on these paintings-

What shape would our conversations take if our hearths were lit by the artificial fluorescent light of a post-wild planet? 

How will we rewild our relationships if we can't even keep the field and forest, the ocean or bees, alive?

Here in these paintings I honor the types of conversations we have after dark, I appreciate and meditate on the wild spaces we share, I cherish keeping these rituals alive, in hopes that we can care better for each other and the places we live and visit, before they are also extinct. See most of the works here.

 

WHAT IVE BEEN DOING/
 

It’s been a busy year so far. I’ve had the privilege to travel far and wide, starting with Puerto Rico in March (which happened to fall on my 30th birthday), then to Memphis TN for the first time in May. Memphis was lovely, despite a city-wide blackout due to a near hurricane.
June brought me to northern Wisconsin & the annual Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, where I camped in the woods for three days and learned from wise women about plants, rewilding, intersectional feminism and mind-body medicine. I look forward to it each year.
July has been a real marathon, beginning with my first venture to Colorado, where I experienced butterscotch trees, elk, and yak for the first time. Hummingbirds hummed with me when I had my morning coffee. It was wild.
July fourth weekend we visited Pittsburgh, where I loved the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. I was blown away by the Poisons Exhibit, the preserved flora and fauna. I particularly enjoyed spending time with a Vija Celmins painting of the galaxy, in a little corner of a gallery.
Finally, we just spent a quick weekend in rural CT visiting my family, and a glorious Saturday walking Storm King Art Center in Mountainville NY. I had been there once before, on a class trip as a early highschooler- but it was like nothing I had ever seen before, visiting again with older eyes. My highlight was spending time (again) with Andy Goldsworthy and Maya Lin works.

WHAT IVE BEEN DIGGING/

-Follow my fiancé Tom on his new photo blog @architectureisnotmagic or check out his projects via architectureisnotmagic.com

-The new podcast from WNYC Studios & the MoMA called
A piece of work: with Abbi Jacobson” is a fun & bite -sized take on artists through history.
I highly recommend it.

-“How to Recycle all the Things”a guide on recycling almost everything

-VGA gallery is set to open it’s first Brick-and-Mortar Gallery on Friday August 11th at 5pm with the show SAVIOR, by cuban artists Josuhe Pagliery & Johann Armenteros. Check them out here. VGA Gallery is Chicago's first permanent public art gallery dedicated to videogames and related new media art.


Thanks for taking the time to read. See you again in August.

-RMM

@rachaelmchan
rachaelmchan.com