Rachael Edwards, a self-taught contemporary painter firmly planted in the Texas panhandle, uses the majority of her work as a shared megaphone, emphasizing the universal importance of human existence in character and tone. In line with Edwards’ long-running narrative of juxtaposed styles and techniques, she works to expand the feeling of inclusion within her audience by seeking out innovative ways to experience each other. Her career has become a collection of sub-series with a bottom line mostly concerning the treatment of others, whether down the street or across the ocean. Holding long-time influences Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Banksy and David Bowie in high regard as masters of their art forms, her basic mantra is just as varied as those she appreciates… “Respect the lives you affect… and never become comfortable."
As a figurative painter working mostly in acrylics, the intention of my art has grown into social statements largely influenced by documentaries, independent films and the everyday news of war, poverty, and inequality. The basis of this work developed from unseen and often disregarded relevance of human life (ANYTHING BUT EMPTY, 2014) eventually evolving to include spray painted street art on cardboard and found objects styled with the influence of Banksy (WE ARE NOT DISPOSABLE, 2015) (OUTSIDE IN, 2015 and 2016). With the deafening constancy of social media creating world-wide “numbing”, my goal was not to dishearten or alienate the viewer with universal tragedy, but to focus on stories that were felt, not forced. I began to use depictions of child-drawn monsters as a sort of symbolic buffer embedded in figurative paintings for pieces from the solo show THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOBODY (2015). This intentional juxtaposition of inserting childlike, white-paper drawings of monsters and animals into large, figurative paintings has become a personal study within a sub-series of my work. I take the ability of children to “say what they mean” in bold, blunt terms, and emphasize its intensity using a dark palette of acrylics heavy in black on a canvas of raw, unprimed drop cloth. Endearing qualities of simple truth and humorous innocence in a child’s art initially disarm illustrations of truly unnerving realities and the underlying message suddenly becomes palatable… enact humanity by seeing a lack of it. The pieces in this new series of work, “Paper Monsters”, along with their titles, try to capture the obviousness of a child. As a comfortable bridge connecting humans to humans they simply tell you what is there and, on those terms, those who suffer have a clear voice that the viewers can hear.
Follow the artist on Instagram @rachaeledwardswithpaint