Current & Upcoming Exhibits
Rachel Stevens – Animated Objects
EXHIBITION DATES: September 8-30, 2023
Reception: Friday, September 8, 5-8pm
Animated Objects is an eclectic community of sculptures linked by color, form, and an ample love of negative space. For this show, Rachel Stevens was inspired by panspermia: the hypothesis that life on Earth was seeded by meteorites. In Animated Objects, surreal shapes suggest life emerging, evolving, and transforming into new ideas we can touch and explore with our eyes.
Surrealist imagery is suggested in many of the sculptures. If Polish Surrealist Hans Bellmer and British Modernist Henry’s Moore’s art had an offspring, these biomorphic objects could be the product of their improbable union. Such imagery is meant to inspire curiosity into what constitutes a “normal” object. Bright colors and textures work in concert with their host forms. The scale of Animated Objects is intimate, but their movement and quirky imagery echo ongoing tendencies in Stevens’ work – a compulsion to reinterpret familiar things, such as plants and shoes or prayers and psychological texts reimagined in physical form on a monumental scale.
Stevens is an informal Animist. Growing up in rural New England, she was surrounded by forests and pastures. Her mother modeled a deep connection with Nature, finding holiness in sunsets, bird songs, and the memory of growing up on a dairy farm in southwestern Massachusetts. Stevens’ maternal grandparents had emigrated from Western Ukraine to farm a parcel of tough, rocky land in Sandisfield, MA. Intrinsic ties to Nature are Stevens’ cultural inheritance.
Rachel Stevens received a BFA in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and an MFA in sculpture from Syracuse University. She served as Area Head of Sculpture at New Mexico State University (NMSU) for 25 years. In addition to exhibiting her work in the US and abroad, Stevens has attended many artists residencies, received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation award, and two Fulbright Scholar Awards to Nepal and Ukraine. Her retirement from NMSU in 2019, enabled her to reinvent her studio practice where she pivoted from steel and mixed media to clay. Heavy welding clothes were replaced with the comfort of skirts and flip flops. The murmur of podcasts supplanted the industrial wail of angle grinders and chop saws.
Stevens has been a part-time resident of Missoula since 2010. Her discovery of the Clay Studio of Missoula was serendipitous. Her former ceramics teacher at MICA, Doug Baldwin, had retired from teaching and returned to his hometown of Missoula. An informal visit with Baldwin sparked Stevens’ return to clay. Until she built her studio in Missoula, she enjoyed working in proximity to her mentor for many summers. Stevens divides her life between Missoula and Las Cruces, NM. When in Missoula, she enjoys life in the Rattlesnake with her husband Jack Wright and their beloved dog Micah.
The exhibition will be on display at the Clay Studio of Missoula from September 8-30, with an opening on Friday, September 8, from 5-8pm.
Gallery events are free and open to the public.
Rachel Stevens - Animated Objects
Works are ceramic, all created in 2023. Photos by Kayla McCormick
The online gallery will be on display through September 30, 2023. To make an inquiry about purchasing work from the exhibit, please contact us by phone between 12-5pm on weekdays or email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2023 - Boundaries
November 2023 - UM Graduate Exhibition
December 2023 - Holiday Sale & Exhibition