I have had three nonverbal careers. My creative life began as a professional modern dancer. I received a BFA from Mills College with an interdisciplinary degree. After an additional degree I became an interpreter for American Sign Language, and now have been working as a visual artist for the past 18 years. Dance may seem an unlikely form of training for the visual artist, but ideas in the two disciplines are handled in surprisingly similar ways. Working with performance luminaries like Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, Lucinda Childs, and Mark Morris had a profound influence on my visual work. Sign language also looks at 3 dimensional space in dynamic ways useful to developing a visual vocabulary.
My present work is fiber based. The experience of cloth is universal as we are in constant contact with cloth, whether it is covering our bodies, used in sacred ritual, or looking at a flag. That said, some of my work uses elements of installation art, mixed media, photography, printmaking, embroidery, collage, light, and community based art. I am interested in challenging and expanding the boundaries of what has existed before in the sphere of quilt making.
For this body of work I began by creating a library of images. Through a variety of processes including watercolor, Van Dyke printing, silk screen, French knotting, smearing, dripping, and staining, along with some directed experimentation I work out the composition. I cut and layer fabric and compose and collage the elements onto a background. I work towards imagery and making fabric that has some history through layers of addition and subtraction of color and shape. After the piece is mounted to a canvas background, a sealant is brushed over the piece and then it’s finished with cold wax. After years of working with a limited palette I am bringing more color to the work.
View Artwork by Rachel Brumer in Person
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