Rachel Welch

Artist Statement

The assemblage pieces focus on women and femininity, highlighting both the form and sensuality of womanhood. My rough work centers on the melding of contrasting materials. The pieces—created through the combination of rusted metals, decaying woods and other found objects—give a voice to imperfect beauty. Each piece is a unique work because of the diversity of its constituent parts, but once put together, the parts become a single unified sculpture.

My pieces that revolve around music and musicians are directly influenced by my time working at Aroma. I have been able to enjoy the music, the energy, the movement and the connections the musicians have with the audience and each other. I have worked both from drawings that I have done while watching the musicians as well as from photos. I enjoy trying to capture the music and the moment as well as the challenge of working with moving figures.

After spending a year studying sculpture and figure drawing in Florence, Italy, I have found that the churches and religious icons have been a popular subject in my works. Looking at all of the amazing statues, paintings and architecture, I couldn’t get the memories or the amazement from this trip out of my mind and I find that I look for images in magazines, cut them out to put into my sketchbook. From my sketches done in Florence, photos takes or found in books and magazines, I have produced paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces. I think that these works all bring me back to a curiosity to something that was such a commonplace in Italy.

Several years ago I decided to give plein air painting a chance. This is a subject that I like to have my students focus on but was really not comfortable for me. I found figures more interesting than the chaos of a landscape. When the Art Alliance of Idyllwild had a competition I decided to give it a try. I actually enjoyed the challenge of having to paint in the moment, dealing with the changing light, the weather, the paint drying too fast. After this, I took a class through Idyllwild Arts Summer Program focusing on Plein Air. I loved it. Organizing all of the clutter that can be found in a landscape, making the viewer understand where to look, using the lines and colors to move the eye around the painting. Also getting to scout out a location, looking for a subject that would make a good painting. This is something that I enjoy doing but not something that I do often.

One of my interests other than painting is belly dancing. This is something that helps me connect with my body as well as a wonderful group of women. The music, the costumes, the movement are an amazing part of the dance and I think that I try and recapture this beauty in paintings that revolve around this dance form. I have worked in many different media to capture this, such as silk painting, mixed media, acrylic and ink.

As a new mother, I have also spent some time focusing on my child and family. I think that these pieces are about capture these moments of my daughter’s life in a way that is allowing me to truly study her face, her mannerisms, who she is. Just taking a photo seemed too fast, to easy. These pieces are really for me and for her.