medium: graphic art
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Through my richly colored etchings, woodcuts and paper constructions I symbolically explore how we can thrive in the gap between life as it is and life as it ought to be. I utilize aspects of architecture, planning and mapmaking to describe physical form and to imply the multifaceted layers of the psyche. An underlying geometry, which provides structure and a frame of reference, represents eternal truths that transcend individual existence and circumstances. In architecture, the geometric framework of a building consists of its structural system. Just as this system determines much of the spatial and formal expression of the architecture, in my work, the geometry often dictates the placement of elements. In a map, the latitudinal and longitudinal lines provide a reference system for the topography. However, topography, like the entire natural world, does not necessarily conform to a set pattern or defined order.
Employing symbolic vocabulary, I elucidate common human struggles. My works highlight the uniqueness and significance of the individual and the interdependence of humanity. Mankind’s creative and destructive powers contrast with its ultimate frailty and powerlessness. Repeatedly printing and modifying my prints mimics how humans constantly reconstruct self-image, social bonds and adapt to change. Altering the color of a print can highlight a different quality of the image and change our perception of it. Through more drastic alterations, such as folding, cutting, sewing and reassembling, my works reveal the breaking and mending process of our individual and collective brokenness and offer an invitation to live more fully.
"[Rachel] was as sharp as her cutting tools, radiantly warm as her colors and as deep as her textures. It all echoes through her poetic texts. She’s all of a wondrous piece. This art lures you into the edge
of your own brain’s depths and new worlds therein." --Kevin Lynch, Art Critic
Rachel Durfee’s richly colored etchings, woodcuts and paper constructions symbolically explore how we can thrive in the gap between life as it is and life as it ought to be. In her work the paradoxical architecture of existence is often populated with disappointment and resentment but also hope and purpose—with a dash of wit. Also a writer, Ms. Durfee composes poems that accompany each piece. Ms. Durfee has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1989, including exhibitions in Brazil, Canada, California, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Her works are included in private and public collections including the Milwaukee Art Museum, American Family Insurance Company, Promega Corporation, Summit Credit Union, the University of Wisconsin, Wheaton College and WPS Health Insurance Company. Ms. Durfee received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cornell University.