March 29-April 4, 2012
Rachel Means’s solo exhibition is part of an on-going series of Senior Studio Art Major exhibitions in the Edward M. Smith Gallery.
“During the summer of 2011, I had the pleasure of travelling to Botswana, a small country in Southern Africa. On the way to safari, the tour guide stopped our vehicle because a herd of elephants was walking across the road. The guide explained that our lodge was constructed in its particular location to prevent the disruption of animal pathways. The fluidity between the people and the natural world overwhelmed me. By observing the people and the land, and the land and the animals, my awareness of what it means to embrace what is around you was truly heightened. I was calm. I was calm because the various relationships generated a profound acceptance of coexistence. I began asking questions: What constitutes a relationship? To what extent do we need to adjust to or interact with the environment? How much control do we have over our response to the environment? I realized that my questions resided in an attempt to understand the communication between the internal and external.
We typically understand the term internal in relation to self. I questioned what it is about self that distinguishes it from the external [entities outside of self such as other people, nature, etc]. In the presence of others, I observed that one becomes more aware of one’s own internal characteristics that distinguish self from the external. At the same time, one’s internal self is altered by the external. The challenge is maintaining the integrity of self in the face of the external. However, in the midst of the challenge, an irresistible merge between the self and external prevails.
This body of work focuses on the interactions between varying entities. Through the combination of figurative and non-figurative elements and different processes, I attempt to parallel the fluid interactions I observed between internal and external identities. The focus is not on how we independently define the internal or external, but on the varied degree of the connection between them. As the distinction between what defines internal and what defines external is blurred, identity shifts. The discovery is that the relationship between the internal and external is dynamic.”
Opening Reception – March 30, 2-4pm