The past year has felt busier than usual, with being back in school while still working full-time, so I’m past due to post some updates. A few highlights from recent months:
The opportunity to have a solo show in San Francisco this spring was pretty exciting. The print director at Mission Grafica generously invited me to show a selection of monotypes at Galeria Zapatista. A Hidden Garden opened on May 12 and we went out for the opening. Testifying to the idea that one never knows what doors will open, it looks like the show will now travel to a gallery in Fresno, thanks to one of the people who attended the opening.
On the curatorial end of things, I had the chance to put together a group show called Crossing the Line, to be mounted in conjunction with a conference of the same name in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Artists interpreted line-crossing and encounters with borders and boundaries in many ways, whether by mixing media or speaking back to / with histories or offering political or cultural challenges. The curatorial essay is available online here.
And a few weeks ago, Elizabeth Stevensen at Fisch Haus staged the 8th iteration of her XX Biennial, for which she invited me to write the catalogue essay. Since it’s a tagging structure, where each artist from the last biennial tags one for the next, there aren’t always clear connections between the work, but this year it seemed very cohesive. (Essay is here, for anyone interested.)
Writing from the last couple of international maternal conferences has been on-going. Some pieces are still in process, but the London conference resulted in an entire issue of Studies in the Maternal. Expanding my conference presentation into a longer essay on “Performing the Breastfeeding Body” resulted in this piece, and I participated in another conversation on maternal art activism with several colleagues here.
It was a rewarding year of teaching. There are always emotional ups and downs in an academic setting, helping young people (and sometimes colleagues) negotiate difficult issues, but by the end of the year it always seems worth it. I had the chance to create a new class this year, on Activism, Art, and Design. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Art Education Foundation, I was able to incorporate several visiting artists throughout the semester, to talk with students first-hand about their work in prison arts activism, immigrant rights, climate change, and community arts / activist workshops. I love teaching Printmaking, so that was a highlight of my year as well. I was honored to earn tenure this spring, and as an end-of-year bonus, received the Distinguished Teaching Award at commencement.
Can’t BELIEVE I missed the opportunity to meet you here in Wichita! I used to be on the Fisch Haus / Bowl Board… good grief… thanks for your addition!
Small world! Hope our paths will cross at some point…!
Rachel, I continue to be impressed with all your accomplishments from the last year – all the writing and invitations and awards. Well deserved! And the sabbatical comes at such a great time. I’m just catching up with some of your blog posts and look forward to reading some of the essays you have links to as well as seeing what happens to your practice in the next year. Being in the same crit group this second year is wonderful. I might be sending you private comments in more depth with other thoughts more on a par with what we did last year. It seems more personal and leaves our crit group to find it’s own rhythm without everyone trying to measure up, though I’ll do my best with the great women we have in our group. xx best always, Julia
Thanks, Julia! Yes, with the grad school blog I’ve kind of let this one go so this was a catch-up post. I’m not entirely sure yet how / if I’ll merge the blogs once we’re done with school. I do like the process-nature of the other one, talking through what works and what doesn’t, although I’m not sure if I want all of that to be so public. I guess I have a year to think it over! 🙂 But yes – I know what you mean – I think we can continue to comment or email in more depth with each other, separate from the crit group. Looking forward! xoxo