"Teeny Meany" is a new series of broadsides addressing our current political environment in the U.S.
Mass Migrations will be on view during the Rollins Faculty Biennial including Simmons' recent artist's book titled "A Survey of Popular Birds & Their Behaviors. " Surveys asking for viewers' thoughts on favorite and not-so-favorite birds will be available as part of this ongoing socially engaged project. An expanded version of "Flock" will also be on display with contributions from current Rollins students enrolled in 2D Foundations. Letterpress prints and "Survey" books are available in limited editions. Please contact Rachel Simmons with inquiries.
Hello Portland! I'll be exchanging "Ghost Ship" screen prints through the Member's Portfolio, and I'll have a few artist's proofs on hand at Open Portfolios on Saturday. too. Stop by my table and say hello! I will have copies of my book "Never Flinch" and I'm also showing letterpress prints from last summer's residency at Karen Kunc's Constellation Studios in Lincoln, NE.
Transference is a group exhibition featuring new and recent works by Brittany Metz, Martha Lent, Patricia Lois Nuss, Dina Mack, Dawn Roe and Rachel Simmons. The exhibition's concept emerged from the artists' previous group exhibition, Imprint, held at Avalon Island Gallery in 2013, and their subsequent discussions about the role of influence, transference, exchange and inheritance in contemporary art practice. The exhibition will include photography, printmaking, mixed media installation and collaborative works.
I'll be discussing works in the current exhibition "The Encounter: Baalu Girma and Zora Neale Hurston" as well as my ongoing experiments with the process of letterpress printing.
"The Game of Getting Splits the Heart" is an installation of letterpress prints initiated by a discussion with Eric Gottesman about African-American author Zora Neale Hurston, which lead to a discussion in my Visual Journals class about Hurston’s short story, Sweat. Through her raw and powerful narrative style, Hurston tells a tale of domestic violence in early 20th century rural Florida, engaging readers in a broader dialogue about what constitutes ethical behavior in a battle of good versus evil.
The workshop began yesterday with the arrival of Karen Kunc's 85 year old mother and three sisters. Many more arrived until at around 4:20 we had a critical mass. As they sat expectantly around plastic folding tables, I introduced my work, using images on my website and examples of the book pages I’ve printed so far. I explained the Migrations project and what I would like from them as participants. I made a point to ask for each person to fill out a survey about their favorite birds. And then we got started. As we worked, we talked about birds. I heard so many stories; about canoeing with loons in Michigan, Cowbirds laying their eggs in cardinal nests, seeing a Whooping Crane for the first time in a ditch by the side of rural highway, a young child’s love for owls, the excitement of seeing a Bald Eagle, looking for someone’s escaped parrot in their neighborhood, the sweet song of a Meadowlark, seeing a bush absolutely full of Cedar Waxwings or relating the tiny size of the Black Capped Chickadee. Participants made enough birds to fill both 18’ wires in the gallery. I imposed certain limitations on the project, only to provide some visual unity across what I anticipated would very diverse approaches to making the birds. I provided three ink colors, three paper colors, and pre-cut stencils to make plates. Despite these boundaries, an enormous amount of variety and creativity came pouring out of the group, from their choices to layer different colors together, blend colors on the same bird, create new patterns and even invent new bird forms. It was astounding. Just a quick glance at the birds reveals that they were made by many different minds and hands, each maker with different stories to tell about their interactions and relationships with birds. In a way, nothing has changed since the early years of the last century when the birth of birdwatching encouraged the general public to embrace birds as animals which were worth protecting because they were like us in so many ways, we could relate to them and value their lives because of how we perceived their behaviors as human. We seem to know them as our neighbors (some loved, some reviled); we notice when they do not arrive in their usual numbers or when their nests are invaded by cowbirds, jays or crows. Almost all of the surveys indicate that it was easy for participants to identify 3 favorite birds, and most identified a nuisance bird as well. Commonly identified as favorites were Sandhill Cranes, Cardinals, Black Capped Chickadees, Hummingbirds and Great Blue Herons. Comments about these choices seemed to indicate that favorites had “good” virtues not unlike our own: beauty, loyalty, good parenting, expressiveness or fearlessness; or they are perceived as being useful in some way, i.e. as farmers, insect eaters and hunters. Many participants named Bluejays, Crows, Starlings, Cowbirds and Grackles as birds they considered a nuisance, though many did not see any birds as a nuisance. Comments about nuisance birds revealed that it was mainly the birds’ behaviors that landed them in that category; i.e., large chicks who “refuse” to leave the nest; exhibiting noisy, aggressive or rude behaviors towards other birds or humans and those with poor hygiene a.k.a the mess makers. Interestingly, being a favorite bird had as much to do with the bird’s looks as it did with behavior, but being a nuisance bird was almost exclusively pinned on behavior, and the bird’s size, coloring or appearance in flight weren’t mentioned at all as a reason that they were disliked. One participant complained about the Turkey, but it was because eating it made them sleepy.
Mass Migrations is a socially engaged art project happening in July 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska. During this time, I am the Artist in Residence at Constellation Studios, owned and operated by printmaker and UNL faculty member Karen Kunc. The project is still unfolding, and but currently is informed by my research into the social/political ramifications of bird representations in field guides and their problematic abstraction or de-contextualization of birds, the historical and current practices of birdwatching, and the relationships between birdwatchers and birds. I am conducting a survey of project participants’ attitudes towards birds as they help create a flock of abstract bird silhouettes through relief printmaking. The project will have multiple components including a small edition of a letterpress book based on “The Book of Birds” published in 1932 by National Geographic, a second artist’s book investigating the overlap of migration routes and pipeline maps and the collaborative community-created bird flock. For more images and information, please visit www.constellation-studios.net.
Next Tuesday, you can purchase Future Bear screen prints & letterpress posters to help support our project. Friends of Future Bear will also be there selling original arts and crafts. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Rollins College professor Rachel Simmons for a hands-on workshop on visual journals on Saturday, May 23, 2015 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm. Get in touch with your creativity and start a habit of self-reflection through this unique fusion of art and writing! Participants will engage in memory-based writing activities and mixed media drawing, collage and printmaking techniques.
The workshop is free, but space is limited to 12. E-mail Moriah@BookmarkItOrlando.com ASAP to reserve your space in this workshop!
Copies of Rachel's work "Never Flinch: A Visual Journal" will be available for purchase. The workshop will be held on the campus of Rollins College in the Cornell Fine Arts Center, studio 107. Visitor parking is available on campus and in the parking garage on Lyman Ave. Please visitwww.rollins.edu for a map.
Future Bear will be giving away free prints, Mission Books and advice on how to help her make the planet a healthier place!
A visual journal is a marriage of writing and art; a playground for a busy, creative mind; an amplification of your inner voice; a record of your experiences; a regular meeting over coffee between you and yourself. Through a rich layering of mixed media drawing, printmaking and collage, artist Rachel Simmons immerses the reader in a colorful narrative about life, art, science, travel and family.
I'll be speaking Friday, February 27th from 9-10 am at Creative Mornings Orlando.
Adam Farcus, Dana Hargrove and Rachel Simmons exhibit work that speaks to our relationship with landscape. The closing reception on the 19th has been cancelled.
Tales of Future Bear will be on display at the Olin Library at Rollins College beginning February 18th. This socially engaged art project expands on Future Bear, a comics-based artwork created by Rollins faculty members Julian Chambliss and Rachel Simmons.
Curator Yulia Tikhonova reviewed Rachel's altered book/journal "The Namibians"
Future Bear has grown in scope as more and more community collaborators join the project. Rollins College and Parke House Academy elementary school students just finished creating Future Bear-themed board games, card decks, t-shirts and posters as a way to learn about climate change together through art. Check out our facebook page for updates and pictures. This project is being supported by United Arts of Central Florida and Rollins College.