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LOCATION: Visions West Contemporary - 2605 Walnut St

CATEGORY: Art Events


  • Thu, Sep 21, 2023 - Sat, Nov 4, 2023  

Visions West Contemporary is pleased to announce Wild and Precious, a solo exhibition from the multimedia artist and sculptor Rachel Denny. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 22, 6:00 - 8:00 pm. The exhibition will continue through November 4th. The title of the show takes its inspiration from the writer Mary Oliver. Oliver's poem The Summer Day, which deals with nature and morality, sometimes finds itself on repeat in Denny's head. In the final line of the poem Oliver writes "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?".

Denny works and lives outside of Portland, Oregon where she creates nature and animal inspired artwork, most of which consists of taxidermy forms that have been transformed through fabric and embellishments she overlays them with. Denny's choice of medium has adapted and changed over the years, dependent upon the project and access to resources. Sourcing from upcycled materials that come from thrift stores, estate sales or kind gifts from friends. Texture and color are her palette, and this palette resides in a large storage cabinet where she hunts for materials for each animal figure.

Every animal is provided with a carefully chosen display consisting of leather, wool, beads, sequins, etc. In Denny's current work, delicate beads drape the form on many of the animals, acting as an abstraction, or as Denny explains it "shimmery memories of an animal". Denny's work demonstrates relationships between humans and the natural world, or more specifically the interactions and alterations that humans make on the natural world. By altering animal forms with human waste products, Denny asks the viewer to consider the ways they implicate the world around them.

Denny is inspired by many legendary female sculptors including Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Lenore Tawney and Ruth Asawa. In the case of her new hanging piece Stargazer, inspiration is more direct. After Denny encountered the 1935 painting Oregon Night Corral by Morris Graves, she explains that the feeling of a quiet night, and the hidden animals, influenced her to emanate this in her own work. She says of her own night gazing: "whether you can see the animals in the pasture or not, you know they're out there, but they have their own life outside of you".

(Image: King of the Hill, 2023, wood, clay, aluminum, fiber, nails, thread, 42 x 39 x 10.5 inches)

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