19 April 2014

Rachael Archibald, art connecting humanity and nature


Words: Saskia Edwards
Images: Jonathan Rae 
Animation: Rachael Archibald

Pantheism is the doctrine that God is in everything. God is in trees, air, clouds, dirt, grass, rocks, animals. God is in you. It’ s the idea that what is natural is divine.

Brisbane artist Rachael Archibald’s works are pervaded by this concept. She laces her sculpture and online artworks with motifs representing the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

“I have a kind of sub-conscious idea about man and nature and how we use it and how it’s really beneficial.

“I use the rock form as a simplistic symbolism for our connection with the world and nature.”

The contrast between rock forms and distinctly manufactured objects in Rachael’s sculpture seems to demonstrate the co-existence of the artificial and the organic – man and nature. Similarly, rocks printed on synthetic fabrics, coated in neon colours and recreated in a digital form all show the amalgamation of the natural and unnatural.

While keeping with this theme, Rachael’s work has undergone large transitions. She now rarely creates tangible works and has moved onto largely digital art.

“Well recently I stopped making a lot of physical objects because I feel they’re a bit unnecessary and it’s a bit harder to communicate or have it exposed to audiences, and I’m a bit lazy.

“So I want to make the same aesthetics of physical objects, but in an internet gallery.

“Because it’s time consuming to make things, but on the internet you can just upload it as soon as you’ve done a little bit.”

Through 3D digital clay moulding software, Photoshop and applications like You Doodle Rachael produces gifs, online collages and other animated artworks. Though Rachael rejects the idea she’s part of the Vaporwave movement that’s seen the satirical resurgence of early Microsoft and DOS imagery stemming from seapunk and chillwave trends.

“I’m using the technology, but I’m still pretty art school, so clean and process-based.

“But they’re probably coming from the 90s or the 2000s where they’re influenced by internet culture. But I really like looking at it, appreciate it.”

As a QCA graduate, Rachael’s always been drawn to artistic endeavours.

“I remember my mum used to try to get me to do drama and stuff after school and I’m really shy and introverted, so I used to scream and not want to go.

“So then she put me in this art school, which was really good because I could just sit at a desk and do whatever I wanted.

“And then I kept doing it at high school. I did photography and hospitality and art.

“Yeah I just didn’t really want to anything else.”

Rachael says her future works will continue to be through an online platform. And perhaps this is the modern manifestation of Pantheism where humanity, nature and the spiritual are all interconnected even through the virtual world.

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