In the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution dealt artisanship a burly blow. Handmade creations prized for their heritage were swapped for quick-turn, conveyer-belt goods. Over 250 years later, this fast-first mentality has swelled beyond objects to life, which is lived at an ever-more-breakneck pace. At wMM, we still like to take (and make) things a little slower.
The Brooklyn-based artist Rachel Rickert — known for her intimate studies of the female form — applies a similar approach to her painting, declaring: “As our world becomes more and more tech driven, it feels ever more important to have a connection to the handmade — to personal expression in a deliberate and thoughtful way, doing something that takes time, that is vulnerable and that helps others see potential in their worlds.” We agree, which is one reason we call Rachel a kindred spirit. It’s also why we asked her to collaborate with us on an exclusive print for SS18. The result is a painterly striped motif that combines neutral and warm hues. “Each stripe is a mosaic of different colors and brushstrokes,” Rachel reveals, “creating irregular bands that nestle together.” Below she divulges a bit more about her creative process, and herself.
Your first professional artwork
This piece was the first I made for my MFA thesis exhibition.
With this piece, I felt that I had found my language and was making paintings that were “me.”
An artwork you wish you’d created
The Rose, Cy Twombly (2008).
Acrylic on wood panel, 99 ¼ x 291 ¼ inches
What about the female form inspires you?
The female form is power — it is the ultimate creator. It is also the body in which I experience the world, and I paint about my life, habits and spaces.
What does the word feminist mean to you?
Feminist means understanding the different experiences of being a woman while also elevating our being and worth — we are equal, but we are also more than that. We sustain life! Feminism is understanding and celebrating womanhood.
Contemporary female artists who inspire you.
Jennifer Packer, Catherine Murphy, Cecily Brown and Ann Gale.
Your favorite body part?
Hand and legs (my and my partner Jon’s legs, his hands)
A place you go for inspiration.
A beautiful website.
A song on repeat in your studio.
“Feel it Still” by Portugal. The Man. (I’m all about dancing while painting.)
What are you looking forward to this year, personally and professionally?
My painting process continues to evolve as I find ways to capture more of a memory or response to something than a direct observation. After four years of living alone, I moved into a new apartment with Jon and I am currently responding to bourgeoning domestic patterns and discrete moments of my new life — watching and being watched. I am thinking about distance within intimacy, giving up of solitude and the perilous nature of attachment. Everything that came before was about me, my patterns, watching myself… Now, I am making work about him. This new body of work, reacting to my obsessive gaze at who and what I love, will show this closeness, explore the boundaries and lack there of, anticipating missing someone when you are still right in front of them. Personally, I am also looking forward to this year with Jonny, as we have exciting things ahead for us.