Durfee shares her thinking on making prints.

Featured Artist Rachel Durfee

The Four Corners, Woodcut and watercolors, 28” x 21 3/8” ©2009
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. In my 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, I compose poems that accompany each piece. The art and poetry in unison create a meditative journey, urging the viewer to delve deeper into personal motivations and desires.
Inspired by travels through Europe and Asia, I examine how the built environment is a reflection and interpretation of the internal psychological environment. I utilize aspects of architecture, planning, mapmaking and geometry to describe physical form and to imply the multifaceted layers of the psyche. The artworks have an underlying geometry, which provides structure and a frame of reference and which 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 plays a major part in determining 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. Life is simultaneously fluid and fixed. Every moment is filled with choices. Every choice builds on the consequences of the choices made before and intertwines with the choices of others.
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. For example, altering the color of a woodblock print can highlight a different quality of the image depicted and change our perception of it. In other works, I more drastically alter an image by folding, cutting, sewing and reassembling my prints. Through revealing the breaking and mending process of our individual and collective brokenness, my art offers an invitation to live more fully.

The Four Corners, Woodcut and watercolors, 28” x 21 3/8” ©2009 You Surround My Heart, Two woodcuts and watercolors 25” x 25” x 2 ” ©2004 That Which Once Was Broken in the Mending Becomes More Valuable, Woodcut and watercolors, 36” x 10 ”, ©2008 I Gave My Lunch, Woodcut and watercolors, 36” x 10 ”, ©2008 Due to constant (com)motion Ideas may shift, poem excerpt by Rachel Durfee
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