A relationship is like a virus, a microscopic fragment that reproduces inside the cells of living hosts. We, as individuals and groups, play the parts of virus and host. The resulting infection creates a cycle of responding; of posturing, mirroring, projecting, and cannibalizing the traits of the people and cultures we come in contact with. Our family and friends, our lovers, heroes, and villains all become hosts to our viruses, and infections to our host, in an ongoing process of appropriation between ourselves and others.
This process is growth. It can also be crisis. Viral infections always cause physiological change in the host, either by disease or the resulting immunity from that infection. Often the virus, host, or both, mutate from their exposure to the other. I explore this adaptation and play for dominance using portraits and implied narratives of hybrid creatures that are the sum of their parts. These characters embody the dynamic struggle between self and other, both internally and externally, and function as ecosystems for layers of tangible and subconscious interactions.
The combined images of humans and animals reinforce the similarities between all living things, and the needs and desires that fuel them, while also referencing genetic engineering and evolutionary anomalies. This mutation summons archetypes and mythology, utilizing symbols within compositional structures that imply hierarchy and narrative, but offer no conclusions.
This hybridization is formally mirrored by the fusion of painting and drawing. Highly modeled forms are juxtaposed with transparent casements, flat silhouettes, and line drawings creating a tension of space and substance, of tangibility and perception. This tension extends materially through the combination of developed, structured layers of oil paint, thinned washes reminiscent of water color, and line drawings made with both paint and graphite on a field of clear-primed, unstretched linen, mimicking large works on paper.The human scale of the primary characters requires viewers to position themselves in relation, and identify and categorize these characters and scenarios in an attempt to determine self or otherness.
Artist Bio / CV
Rachel Meuler, originally from Louisville, KY, received her BFA in Sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1999, and her MFA in Sculpture from SUNY Purchase in 2001. She has been an artist in residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Skidmore College, and the Abrons Art Center of the Henry Street Settlement. She was awarded 'Best in Show' by Boston's Atlantic Works Gallery for her work in the exhibition Trans, and has been featured in the “Weekly Featured Art” of MYARTSPACE.com and the “Tips & Picks” section of NY Arts Magazine.