Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rachel Sager and the 'Translation of Matter'

 Hometown on Fire

San Francisco is a magnet for all kinds of talent and one of the delights of Open Studios is being able to discover that talent.

There are so many fine artists showing their work that it’s hard for one artist to stand out.

On Sunset

But even in this competitive milleau, Rachel Sager's landscape paintings are  outstanding. 

Stormy, moody, or tranquil, in each piece the landscape is dominated by huge expanses of sky and clouds. Her clouds are not just fluffy, innocuous, shapeless pillows, but layered shapes in the sky, sometimes outwardly tranquil but shot through with undertones of menace.

Seger sees her “clouds” as debris filled objects, based on different kinds of fires and inspired by images of clouds taken from airplane windows. Her focus is on color and form as opposed to overt narrative, but there is a story in each painting.

She wrote, “The turmoil, represented by the debris filled smoke, is juxtaposed by sun infused skies and cirrus clouds, projecting the duplicity that is unavoidable, overwhelming, and at times, awe-inspiring. “

On the Bay

As documented in the film, "Sketching the Silk Road," (2005) Segar and another San Francisco based artist, Tod Thompson traveled by camel, paraglider and on foot to explore Dunhuang’s mystical Echoing Dunes and Mogao Grottoes. They completed and exhibited a series of original paintings inspired by their travel experiences in 2005.

Rachel is the adventurous daughter of an adventurous single mother. Born in Pennsylvania, her parents divorced when she was three and her mother moved her and her sister to Kansas. Her mother became a truck driver for Frito Lay, getting up at 4 AM to be sure that all the stores were stocked. Eventually Rachel burned out on corn chips but not on being an artist.

Source is below.

Rachel got her BFA in from Tyler School of Art in Pennsylvania but before that she traveled to Italy and enrolled in the prestigious Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, Italy.

Most American students didn't have the technical expertise to qualify for the school but Rachael passed her exams with ease. Even then, her skills were outstanding.

In Italy, she supported herself by doing portraits in the Plaza, work normally done by Albanians who had cornered the market on quick sketches. They were amazed, not only at her audacity but her skills. It was an incredible learning experience – not only to be in Italy but to learn how to capture a likeness in a 5-minute sketch  in a busy Italian plaza.

Three Sticks

After getting her MFA, Rachel set out on the road again – working in a ski resort, traveling to New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico, Kino, Scotland – always moved by sky and space. Eventually she settled in San Francisco, studied with Paul Pratchenko and continued to refine her skills.

Like any genuine artist, she is always seeking for better ways to paint.

Rachel’s work is featured in the current on-line exhibit at Hang Gallery: “Translation of Matter.”

Her website:
 All works copyright Rachel Sager/images used with permission. 

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