Rachel Rickert, a contemporary painter working in Brooklyn, depicts figures engaged in domestic rituals within intimate spaces. In her most recent body of work, the figures are frozen in moments of transition – dressing, showering, waking…
In describing one of her paintings, Larissa Pham states, “Rickert’s twenty-first-century bather is in the act of exposing her body—the eye lingers on the planes of her torso, rendered in confident strokes, where light breaks across her form. In Rickert’s depiction, there’s the feminist independence of Cassatt and the physicality of Toulouse-Lautrec; the open sensuality of Hashiguchi Goyo and the emotional coloring of Bonnard….
Rickert received her MFA from the New York Studio School in 2015, and her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. In 2019, she was selected for the James Castle House Artist-in-Residency in Boise, ID, and in 2017 she was selected by Irving Sandler, Robert Storr, and Walter Robinson to receive the Mercedes Matter/ Ambassador Middendorf Award, at New York Studio School. That same year, she also received the James O’Brian Award for her work in the 60th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art: 60 Works Celebrating 60 Years.
My paintings explore anxiety, attachment, and intimacy in my routine life. I play between building a representational portrayal rooted in reality and searching for a dreamy equivalent. l paint in loose layers that reveal traces of past decisions between firm and final marks. The vibration of the forms, shifting into place, adds to the depiction of instability. Heightened color laying with fleshy neutrals reinforces the edge of distortion. The paint and the image are equally insistent.
My self-portraits and portraits of my husband use subtleties in everyday life to actualize states of vulnerability. The most private spaces within the refuge of the home, the shower and the bed, offer moments that run parallel to active living, but do not intersect it. I paint scenes of this type of tangential experience, as we recede, and live in our heads. I am newly inspired by imagery in my own wedding and marriage story that reflects the roles, tensions, and expectations, societal and personal, in heterosexual coupling.
Currently I am disrupting classic oil painting process by incorporating printmaking techniques. Beginning with small paintings on panel, I transfer paint from one surface to another, including panels, paper, and canvas. I am experimenting with scaling up, painting on larger panels and plexiglass, and printing on canvas. In these slowly built up paintings, marks are interrupted and solidified at different levels of representation, forming between control and surprise.