In my new work, I continue to contemplate deconstruction by extracting and repurposing existing imagery to create new meaning. Severed fragments of soft-focus floral backgrounds, sourced from 70's adult magazines, set against field shots from World War 2, altered and positioned to create a new narrative more accurate of naturally occurring internal dissonance. A human figure is not only what is seen on the exterior, but the organs and veins and hair and blood, all at once. Just as a traumatic experience can be explained most accurately as shots and flashes from a dream, or stills from a movie reel, out of sequence and disassembled. In selecting preexisting imagery based on tonal qualities and hues, which might depict turbulent waters or explosions in the sky, or a telling detail of an image that holds much of the image’s sentiment (hands folded or cutting and sewing), I can reconfigure the images to tell a different story. The pieces possess their own gravity, a sense of history and weight. In rendering them with oil paint, the imagery retains that history, but are unified through the medium. The subject matter that I explore, and often meditate on, is the passage from life to death, the marred, brutalized female body and the dissonance experienced as artist/mother/wife.
Matter in transformation; metamorphosis, one state to another. I am particularly drawn to how such elemental shifts coincide with the sometimes devastating effects of human beings on the world around them. Here, I portray this transmutation of matter as calculated explosions on aerial landscapes; the ground living, breathing, and dying all at once, in a heavenly haze. Simultaneously, these images of meteoric combustion and uncertainty loosely depict colorful images of global warming as seen on climate change maps, thus liberating the mind from any certain and singular symbolism. Created through a unique process of brushing, rubbing and dusting, my charcoal underpaintings are comprised of the same material they seek to portray, the natural tools of my chosen trade. The charcoal is left in its crude form in order to create an organic, almost visceral surface on which the lush properties of oil paint naturally contrast.
Rachel Sager is an oil painter living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a BFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia after studying at Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy. Her work has been featured in many Internationally juried shows including Aqua International Art Fair in Miami, FL; Open and Crocker-Kingsley California Biennial; in addition to the Emmy Award-winning documentary, Sketching the Silk Road.