Rachel de Joode


Rachel de Joode

Work from Soft Inquiry.

The representation of objects, the consciousness of matter and the exposed and secret nature of things continue to be the main points of departure in de Joode’s latest body of work.

Through an installation of beguiling objects that straddle the realms of sculpture and image, de Joode chooses to focus on depictions and abstractions of basic and primordial materials such as clay (a mainstay for the artist), rocks and the occasional dash of algae. Swaths of skin and passages of boiling mud are images isolated from photographs to form lyrical compositions that nod to the physical and virtual worlds.

Organically shaped, bright and flesh colored clay appear sumptuous to the touch, but closer study reveals an even, smooth surface. All of the seeming tactility is frozen in photographs, which are cut and hung on handmade ceramic hooks. Textural paintings serve as a meditative focal point when descriptions of matter begin to act as new entities, divorced from the material they logically reference. Here, the surface of clay becomes a thing in itself.

As is common in de Joode’s work, questions of perception arise through a truncated, two-dimensional version of these materials (skin made to operate on the same phenomenological plane as mud) which go through an accordion-like process, beginning in full form, compressing, and finally extending into a state imbued with previous iterations.

The tenets of classical sculpture are observed through a process of creating poetic gestures. A cast of de Joode’s pinky toe enlarged and forged in bronze resonates with the aura of inferred grandeur. An enigmatic choice of subject for the historicity of bronze, the toe – the isolated body part – becomes an object in its own right and operates as a whole through the act of its abstraction. Hands enter from the tops and sides of images to lift, smear, or otherwise manipulate materials found within the frame – a narrative of intent that questions how we formulate visual culture through ever more complex systems of media, continuously encountering our origins anew.

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