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Rachel Selekman
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant

ARTIST STATEMENT: In my sculptures, reference to the human body, the use of everyday objects, fine craftsmanship, and the dynamism of elements that literally reach out to the viewer are paramount. The recent sculptures, until the past year or so, explored the dynamics of relationships, of intimacy. "The Conversation" and "The Lovers" show two "figures" in this dynamic, whereas "Mouth Wide Open," as a single figure/object, implicates the viewer in the pas de deux. These scenarios take form in mixed-media sculptures that have watering can bases and/or watering can remnants, stand-ins for the human body and skin, respectively.

A wall sculpture sans watering can, "Reveal (Taking Stock 1)," the most recent sculpture, is a departure from the earlier pieces and indicative of the direction of my forthcoming 3D work. I decided about two years ago to start incorporating all the materials I have left over from other pieces into new work. "Reveal," for example, includes almost all the beads, buttons, and sew-ons from my stockpile, as well as leftover fabric, and “taking stock” in the title references this approach.

This self-imposed directive came to be for two reasons: a milestone birthday and the accompanying reflections and my day-to-day life as an avid recycler, composter, and upcycler. With these practices in mind, I thought, why let all these beautiful materials lay fallow in my closet? Moving forward, I will use my stockpile to make visually complex and engaging sculptures.

In addition to sculpture, I make collages, the focus of my output the past few years. They employ a lexicon of images and often vintage materials, where hand sewing and collage are the dominant modes of construction. In "Golden Flow," the crotch form, watch faces cut out of magazines, and gold metallic thread coalesce to address issues of aging and in particular women’s biological clocks. Works from the "Fifty" series are about time passing: a new phase beginning and one ending; sadness and loss versus hope and expectation. In the series, which will number 50 when complete, I am revisiting ideas that have long interested me, working with ones I haven’t had time to focus on, and developing new ideas. The drawings incorporate motifs that have been part of my oeuvre for years (hands, tears, crotch), and new ones: hourglass and watch faces, with the hourglass particularly potent because when the "sand" is in the top of the hourglass, it’s full of potential, whereas, when it’s in the bottom, it’s as if time has run out.


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