Rachel Loischild is an artist and photographer based in Boston Massachusetts. I had the pleasure of seeing her work on Estate Sales in the Flash Forward festival, and was interested to see more. Rachel’s work speaks to what was, the poignancy of transience, the idea of personal legacy.
She holds her MFA in photography from Pratt Institute. Her photographs have been shown widely, including her international debut at the Jounju photo festival in Jounju Korea. As well as having her work exhibited at the Danforth Museum of Art, the Monmouth Museum and numerous fine art galleries across the country. Rachel teaches photography at both Clark University and Pine Manor College.
I am featuring work from two series, Estate Sales, and Back in the Valley, both explore terrain that is familiar and sensory, and deal with memory and the passage of time.
Estate Sales is an investigation of the estate sales of New England documenting the objects and domestic spaces that remain after someone dies.
Estate Sales becomes a collection of environmental portraits that tell a story about individual lives, families, and an entire generation, which is quickly evaporating. Details of ones life are laid out and exposed, allowing for the examination of the physical relics of someone’s life. This work examines these domestic spaces that have been very clearly shaped by women, creating portraits of them and examining the cultural nuances to which they subscribed, as well as comparing them to our own schema today. This can be seen in the pieces of cosmetics remaining on a dressing table and the ornamentation of a house; even the choice of wallpaper reflects such subtleties.
Somber but curious – well-worn surfaces, upholstery faded from decades of sun. Illumination plays a key role in the work, aesthetically adding life back into a space that is now defined by death. What remains becomes still life as anthropology; these homes become a part of both art and social science. The miniature as the grand and the grand as the miniature, like museum dioramas tell us of an ancient past, these still lives speak to us of the recent past allowing us to create our own dialogue with this time gone by.
In Back In The Valley, Rachel returns to her parents home in a series of portraits of her parents and their home in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. This project is linked to her landscape work of the same region, Views From The Happy Valley, which depicts landscapes of the agricultural land that surrounded her in childhood.
In this ongoing project Rachel confronts viewers exceptions of family construct in showing her middle-aged lesbian parents in their home revealing the banality of their every day lives. By pairing landscapes with portraits Rachel shows her deep connection to the valley in that she includes these non-domestic spaces in her schema of home.
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Øyvind Hjelmen: Moments ReflectedJuly 15th, 2020