Rachel Burgess received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts. Her work has exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries and museums such as the the Seoul Museum of Art, the Monmouth Museum, the Pyramida Center for Contemporary Art and the International Print Center of New York; it has also featured in books and magazines. Recent projects include a residency at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park, a body of work for Brooklyn CSA + D, a feature in Drawing Magazine and a solo exhibition (upcoming) at the University of Connecticut. In addition to making her own work, she has given workshops and lectures as a visiting artist, and taught, respectively, undergraduate and graduate Art History and Art Education.
She lives and works in New York City.
My work is about memory and narrative. Through depictions of the region where I grew up I explore the way we pass down memories. I am interested in the role of repetition in storytelling, and of how repetition provides opportunity for both constraint and license. I am also interested in the editing process involved in remembering, and the way in which our memories simplify and cohere as we re-tell them.
My recent bodies of work (the diptychs and triptychs) draw on my love for literature and illustration. They reference the double-spread format of picture book illustration, the sequential images of Japanese illustrated books and screens, and the spare, repetitive language of traditional folk songs and ballads. By embarking on longer and longer sequential scenes, I want to explore the link between visual storytelling and the tradition of women storytellers who have used repetition and simplification to pass down our collective memories in the form of stories, rhymes and songs.
I begin each piece by sketching on location. I do not use photographic reference. Later, I make monotypes based on my drawings. Monotype is a printmaking technique that results in only one, unique image, similar to a painting on paper.