‘CUTE TOMB’ – Rachel Burke
25 November – 6 December 2020
Saint Cloche Director, Kitty Clark, is excited to welcome and reveal the inimitable and effervescent Rachel Burke with her remarkable first Sydney solo show – Cute Tomb. Celebrated for her glorious over-the-top tinsel creations, Brisbane based designer, stylist and artist will debut at Saint Cloche with a deeply personal new body of work.
Using keepsake letters to friends from her school days as inspiration and also a benchmark for understanding her own personal journey through those days and beyond, Rachel’s works are representative of the therapeutic process of her life. The letters are mummified and incorporated into some of the works as a process of purification. Glittery mixed-media wall sculptures are textural, brightly adorned and embellished shrines, visually representing aspects of identity with some facets revealed and laid bare or hidden, covered and concealed. Plaster and foil vessels hold the symbolic power of our past selves, identities, friendships, relationships. It is Rachel’s intention that some of these handcrafted vessels, made with reverence and love, may be destined for use as urns, to memorialise a loved one’s passing and hold precious ashes and stardust.
Saint Cloche gallery will be transformed from the ground up, into a scintillating, brilliant space where you will feel the magical splendour the moment you arrive at the corner of MacDonald and Brown Streets, Paddington.
“As a teenager I used to write my friends letters. We would pass around notes in class and deliver them to each other’s lockers, sharing schoolyard gossip, latest crushes and reflections on the day. Without thinking, I became an avid hoarder of these notes. Over the course of my school years I accumulated quite the stash – adding them daily to my kindergarten lunch tin.
As I stepped into adulthood and the digital age, I promptly forgot about this stockpile of handwritten notes, only to stumble upon them again when I moved into my own home a few years ago. Upon reading the contents, I was shocked to encounter the people and stories that were reflected back in the pages. It was as though these letters had been written by total strangers.
After reading through each one, I was compelled to find a way to process this unexpected encounter with my ‘past self’ and my forgotten friendships. In order to do this, I used each letter as stimulus to create automatic, abstract illustrations, paintings and sculptures.
This series is a meditation and reflection on my personal quest for catharsis and understanding of how my past identity evolved into its current iteration. Some letters have been encased or ‘embalmed’ in the surfaces of paintings. Others have been absorbed and assimilated into the heart of the massy sculptures. The rest have simply acted as stimulus for the many layers of colourful exploration.
This meditation and exploration will culminate in 24-hour straight drawing installations, where I will create 100 small drawings on paper to be sold, as well as a public, ceremonial burning of notes and letters to our past identities.”
ABOUT RACHEL BURKE
Rachel Burke is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer based in Brisbane, Australia. She creates automatic naïve drawings, sculptures, installations and wearable art pieces out of craft-based materials. Her work explores themes of memory, identity, friendship and nostalgia.
Her works and installations have been exhibited in galleries and spaces around Australia, including ACMI, Gaffa Gallery, Redlands Art Gallery, QPAC and The Print Bar. She has spoken about her art practice with TEDx, Creative Mornings, Craft Victoria, Frankie Magazine and has published two craft books with Hardie Grant. Rachel has also collaborated with iconic brands and major celebrities, the most recent include, with Disney, LEGO, Visa and Sephora. She has created wearable pieces for Kesha’s world tour, Mindy Kaling, Ru Paul’s Drag Race which stars Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls and Detox, she has also done work for Alia Shawkat, Dani Minogue and for Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy. She was even commissioned to create a tinsel chair for Miley Cyrus last year and shipped it to Miley’s home in LA.
Creating opportunities for creative engagement with the community is a key part of Rachel’s art practice. She achieves this via regular ‘Bad Art Nights’ at QAGOMA, public workshops and also through her ongoing community art project Apomogy. She has had one small exhibit of Apomogy at GAFFA as part of a group show.
24 HOUR DRAWING LIVESTREAM
Thursday 26 Nov
Tune in from 10am via Rachel’s @squarespace website.
VIEW ON RACHEL’S WEBSITE
The Saint Cloche community are invited to book into a personal workshop facilitated by Rachel to make an abstract, colourful, mixed-media crown inspired by one of their past identities. As Rachel’s Cute Tomb exhibition explores the various iterations of self that can be lived and forgotten, this crown workshop encourages participants to reflect on their own past iterations of self (and how they’ve contributed to current expressions of identity) and seek to celebrate and acknowledge that through the creation of a unique head piece.
Each workshop attendee will receive a gift bag to take home that includes a little something from Rachel herself and goodies kindly sponsored by Hotel Centennial, (Merivale’s beautiful bar/restaurant in Woollahra), Cape Byron Distillery (Brookie’s Gin) and Leif (nurturing skincare products) and a copy of Art Edit magazine.
Due to Covid-19 and borders being closed, we are all anxiously holding our breath hoping that Rachel will be able to join us in person for the opening of her debut art exhibition CUTE TOMB and our workshop. If they do not open in time, Rachel will still join us virtually to join the fun. We’re not going to let closed borders stop us from celebrating this amazingly talented woman and her extraordinary creations!
Date: Saturday 5th December, 2pm – 3.30pm
Cost: $120 (includes materials)
Duration: 1.5 hrs
Where: Level 1, Saint Cloche Gallery
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS Spaces are limited!