On exhibit April 16-May 22, 2021 at Hygienic Art Gallery is “Collective Environments,” a curated show of 4 artists (Rachel Brask, Rebekah Church, Ron Bence, and Suzy Sholley). Collective Environments exists to reveal the wonders of the world outside of our digitally infested homes and discovering the treasures of nature and its experiences. These artists have been inspired by the current state of our Earth’s environment and have assembled to bring awareness to reusability, consumerism, industrialism and natures beautiful moments through found and natural materials, painting, and collage.
Opening Night was April 16, 2021, and here are some photos from the opening reception and of the Collective Environments exhibit. If you’d like to see the artwork in person, contact Hygienic Art to schedule an appointment, or drop by during their open gallery hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12-7pm, Sundays 1-4pm; call (860) 443-8001 or email Sara, firstname.lastname@example.org
In April 2021, I decided I would resume my art practice. I hadn’t painted a thing since my father’s cancer diagnosis and experiencing the mourning of his eventual death. It had been a hard year. In April, I picked up my paintbrush again, almost reluctantly, but necessarily.
During his care, I didnt have any desire to paint, only to take care of him to the best of my ability and spend as much time with him as I could, as we could as a family. After his death, my grief snatched my paintbrush from me, and anytime I even so much as walked into my studio, I would be reminded of my father.
When I finally did start to paint again on my first painting, it was a little more difficult than I expected. Not just like learning to ride a bike again, where muscle memory takes over, but learning to ride a bike with square wheels – not going anywhere very fast, even if going through the motions. To loosen up, when I taught one of my adult art students, we did a collaborative painting exercise, in which we would each make paint marks on individual canvases, abstract, and then switch canvases after every 4 minutes and do it again. The quick mark making and timed sessions helped to break down some of my hesitancy to even work with paint again, and it filled my studio with the smells of active oil painting again. This helped.
Over several weeks in March 2021, I kept having a recurring image stuck in my mind, an idea for a painting for when I returned to painting. It was of a canvas transitioning from black at the top evenly to a cool purple at the bottom, in the rainy style, but with a burst of white at the bottom right quarter of the canvas. I couldn’t specify exactly at the time what the image was, but I feel like the darker colors may have been influenced some by the sadness and grief I had been experiencing vividly every day.
So, I chose four colors – ivory black, dioxazine purple, cobalt violet, and white. Keeping my palette simple and my concept simple, I dipped my brush to canvas, and placed thick daubs of paint throughout the canvas, and the image in my head vaguely emerged, final so I could confront it visually and face it. The colors surprised me by how collectively dark they were, as I’m usually a bright-and-saturated-happy colors kind of person. But I allowed my brush to move. I cannot say that there weren’t a few quiet tears that emerged as I painted, it’s just become normal now any time I take a step forwards again.
The emerging image eventually had the feel of a cloudy, almost haunting, cloudy full-moon night over some purple mountains. I didn’t hesitate to use big gobs of black paint, as I no longer will shy away from using straight out black paint, which I had intentionally avoided using in past painting years.
Once the canvas was covered, it was time for me to employ my signature “rain” paintbrush application and smearing of paint using stand oil, pressure and gravity. I dipped my brush in the stand oil, and proceeded to drag the brush from top to bottom, mixing and smearing downwards all the paint from top to bottom, removing much of the paint in the process, leaving a somewhat distorted vision of what was previously painted. It felt good to do this process again. And in a way symbolic. This whole year, and especially the last 6 months, had been looked forward to and planned with some level of great precision, and then the storms of Dad’s pancreatic cancer, just destroyed and distorted all that as my world fell.
I let the canvas continue to drip for a few hours, and I returned to it every couple of hours with a brush to blend in some of the drips, to help others drip further, and to edit out some drips, especially the ones that were encroaching on the white paint, in order to maintain the clarity and impact of that part of the painting. I really loved noticing some of the striations and nuances in the detail of the the mixing, dripping, paint when looked at at close range. After a couple days, the paint stopped dripping, and I was left with the finished painting.
I was a bit surprised by just how dominant the application of the black paint ended up being. I removed some paint towards the bottom of the canvas that helps to show some more of the purple a bit better, but visible only in controlled lighting. In my original vision, the gradation from black to purple was much more even and gradual. I’m thinking of possibly painting this composition again, but this time use less-thick daubs of black paint on the top, and bring the purple mountain “horizon” line up more to halfway. I’m satisfied with how the white “light” kind of feels like a flicker, or a glow, picking up some of the purple around it. Reminds me of a match lit in a dark hallway, a light of hope even in darkness sort of thing.
It may not have turned out the way that I had anticipated or planned (isn’t it rare if anything ever actually does?), but I’m so glad that I’ve picked up the paintbrush again and got it moving again. Stay tuned for more upcoming paintings, now that I’ve started the momentum again of painting.
I’m also in need of suggestions for titles for this painting. Let me know if you have any ideas that strike you!
In mid-April 2021, I worked with HeARTspot Art Center & Gallery to make selections for their juried show, “Light at the End of the Tunnel.” This theme was not only perfectly timed and perfectly appropriate for a metaphorical light at the end of the covid-era tunnel, but for me it coincided with there finally being light at the end of a personal dark tunnel. I look forward to seeing all the art submissions come in, and was quite pleased with what I saw.
When I reviewed each artwork, I tried to soak in each piece, individually, allowing a means for finding the individual light in that specific painting, photograph, multimedia piece, or sculpture. Some were abstract, some were more representational, so we wanted to include a good mix of both expressions. Some were more literal expressions of lights and tunnels, others were more subtle, inviting interpretation. I examined the technical and the overall impressions each made on me, and juried in the accepted artworks. The pieces that I have selected for prizes will be announced at the opening reception.
The exhibit, Light at the End of the Tunnel, is now up on exhibition April 29-June 9, 2021, during gallery hours or by appointment. The in-person opening reception for the exhibit will be held May 27, 6-8pm. Contact HeARTspot if interested in making an appointment to see the exhibition: call 401-383-7577 or email: email@example.com or visit www.heartspotart.com
Selected Artists include: Wendy Anctil, David Lee Black, Sara Breslin, Joanne DeLomba, Andrew Eckstrom, Janet Eckstrom, Bob Eggleton, Eran Fraenkel, Donna Gagnon, Ann-Marie Gillett, Chase Henebury, Melyssa Lentini, Krzysztof Mathews, Michael O’Donnell, Mary Penta, Pamela Rojas, Sheila Smith, Jill Whiffen. Artwork by the gallery operator, Jennifer Gilhooly Cahoon, and art by the juror, Rachel Brask, is also on display with the exhibit.
On October 8, 2020, my most successful gallery exhibit came to a close. “Weathering The Storm” was the show where I set a personal record for most paintings sold in one exhibition! I was very excited, and so proud of how many people connected with my paintings.
On October 11, 2020 I learned that my father had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He stayed with us temporarily while seeking treatment at one of the top hospitals in Boston. I gave up everything, including my art practice, to just try to help with his care and morale the best I could. We tried to make the most new memories that we could, hopeful for a positive prognosis, but aware it could go in either direction, at any time.
In December 2020, shortly before Christmas, my father passed away, after a long two weeks in the hospital. I was fortunate to have been at his side as he took his last breath, along with my mother. My father had always been my light, my rock, my guiding star. He had always supported my artmaking and my dreams to be an artist. In the final days before he was about to pass, we even thought he’d be coming home, so we had cleared out my art studio, to prepare a first-floor room for him to recover in, but everything went downhill so fast.
In the immediate weeks after his passing, mingled with Christmas and New Year’s holidays, everything is just one big blur of grief, exhaustion, dealing with funerary logistics in the middle of a pandemic. My family returned to their homes, my own house now empty of the sounds I had gotten used to in all the chaos. I lived in a state of deep sadness for a couple weeks, weeks turned to months. I had heard about “grief brain” before, but this is the first time that I lived it firsthand, and lost track of time.
I tried to go in the studio a few times, to paint, but it was emotionally just too hard. I couldn’t even pick up a paintbrush without bursting into tears. My dad had used my studio as his own “little office” during the two months he was here, and after it just became a dump spot for other things in the house, so there was no room to paint, even if I had wanted to.
When the warmer temperatures of late February and mid March started blowing into New England, I finally started to peek out from my cozy grief cocoon, and started thinking about and setting goals in motion to start getting back to “normal,” or whatever that will look like. Progressively, I’ve felt a bit better each day, with time and self-care, and the love and outreach of friends and family.
I set a personal goal of getting my art studio back up and running by April 1, 2021. Today is that day. It is my goal to use this next month to reconnect with artmaking, showing in galleries, reconnecting with art students and teaching art classes again, picking up graphic design gigs, just doing the business of art all over again. I invite you to join me in this springtime of art, through sharing art social media posts, recommending my art to friends, dropping messages here and there, buying a painting or print, or booking an art class, or just to connect with what’s been going on in your own life.
The best thing I love about spring is the sprouting of new life through the colors of flower blossoms after the long, cold darkness of the death of winter. April showers bring May showers…so for me and my studio, I’ll be painting these April showers again soon.
OPENING APRIL 16TH 7-10PM SHOW RUNS UNTIL MAY 22ND
Collective Environments art exhibition
The upcoming exhibition at Hygienic Art Galleries, Collective Environments exists to reveal the wonders of the world outside of our digitally infested homes and discovering the treasures of nature and its experiences. Selected artists for this group show are Rachel Brask, Rebekah Church, Ron Bence, and Suzy Sholly. This will be Rachel Brask’s debut in the state of Connecticut!
These four artists have been inspired by the current state of our Earth’s environment and have assembled to bring awareness to reusability, consumerism, industrialism and natures beautiful moments through found and natural materials, or painting and collage.
Opening Reception Night is April 16th from 7-10pm and the exhibit runs through May 22, 2021. Hygienic Art Galleries is located in New London, Connecticut at 79 Bank Street. Gallery Hours are Thursday – Sunday, 12-7pm.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Rachel Brask will have a solo gallery show September-October 2020 at Heartspot Art Center & Gallery with an exhibit of oil paintings titled, “Weathering the Storm.” In this exhibit of paintings created before the pandemic, and some created during quarantine, Rachel’s artwork is reframed within the context of what does it mean to weather the storm
“Weathering the Storm” is a solo show featuring the works of artist Rachel Brask. Prior to this (before the age of COVID), Rachel had recently had showings in Italy to add to her artistic resume.
Join us for our first gallery show at Heartspot Art Center & Gallery with a public opening reception on Friday night, September 25th from 6-9 PM. Gallery is located at 1970 Pawtucket Ave, East Providence, RI. Exhibit is up September 5-October 9, 2020 during gallery hours or by appointment.
On this current show, Brask states, “While many see rainy days as sad and gloomy, I see something different during storms. I see how sheets of pouring raindrops cause distortion of the scene beyond, blending colors and shapes together to drip down windowpanes in constant motion. Colors seem a little clearer during rain, and the storm can sometimes interrupt our day, much like how COVID-19 has put our lives on pause. But in these frozen moments, what are you grateful for? What small instances of hope or joy do you embrace, even if your prior expectations were wiped out by the rain, or by the virus? How has the storm changed you?”
The Gallery Opening Reception will follow the following C19 protocols:
No more than 15 people will be allowed in the space at one time.
Patrons must be masked, have their temp taken, and wash/sanitize their hands prior to viewing the exhibition.
Unless standing with members of your household/small circle, we ask you respect social distancing guidelines with others inside of the space.
If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms including fever or a cough, have traveled outside of the country in the two weeks leading up to the reception, or have been in close contact with a person(s) who have tested COVID positive within a week of the event, please do not attend to keep the artist, staff and other patrons safe.
Some prepackaged food will be on hand, and wine will be served. Beverages and food can be consumed either outside the gallery, or while maintaining a distance of at least 6ft from other patrons.
Free event. Open to the public. Parking and entrances are in the rear of the building. To help us give an advance idea of how many people will be attending, please let us know if you prefer to attend the reception 6-7pm, 7-8pm or 8-9pm by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 401-400-0418. We will also attempt to make the exhibit available virtually before the opening reception or with a Facebook Live during the reception.
If you are unable to attend the opening reception, but would like to see the collection, you may set up a private appointment with Jennifer by calling 401-383-7577 or emailing her at email@example.com.
In early August 2020 East Providence Arts Council held a city wide arts festival in an open studio (open air, open yard) format. Rachel Brask, Finding HippyNess, and Erik Giorgi all showed their artwork outside on the front yard fence to passers-by of the general public. As this even took place during the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing was maintained and artists and guests wore masks when interacting.
“Paint! Exhibit in Gallery 175, Reporter Today, February 27, 2020
Full text of article:
Opening on March 8th is an exhibit featuring the work of three artists who explore the substance of paint to create highly expressive and visually luscious surfaces on their canvases. The show, titled, PAINT!, runs through May 1st, 2020.
Pawtucket based artist, Jim Bradley uses poured resins, inks, and pigments to achieve blends, swirls, and movement. By restricting his palette, he produces beautiful color harmonies through an intuitive process that captures the fluidity of the medium.
Rachel Brask of Warren also explores of the fluidity of paint by creating scintillating veils of thin color that cascade down her canvases in a series titled, Rainy Windows. References to a world beyond are hinted at beyond the rainbow of hues that shimmer on the surface.
On the other hand, exuberant textures dominate the paintings of Cumberland artist, Mary Casale. Inspired by the Abstract Expressionists, Casale applies thick paint in bold colors layer after layer, then scrapes and manipulates, directed by her aesthetic instinct. Her paintings convey powerful energies.
The public is invited to enjoy the artwork at Gallery 175, located at 175 Main Street in downtown Pawtucket in the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center. The gallery is open daily from 10am to 4pm. A reception for the artists will be held on March 8th from 2 to 3:30 pm.
Gallery Night Providence launched their very first Juried Exhibition, titled “Art for Everyone.” Amongst the accepted artworks art two paintings by Rachel Brask, both inspired by rainy moments along the Maine coast. The jurors for curating this exhibition are: Donna Parsons of Dryden Gallery/Providence Picture Frame, Munir Mohammed, Elena Calderon Pantino of RISCA, and Kate Kraczon, curator of David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University.
A Grand Opening & Gallery Night Kickoff event is scheduled for Saturday, February 29, 2-6pm at Sprout CoWorking Gallery, Providence, RI. Award winners from the juried show will be announced. A second reception for March’s Third Thursday (March 19) will also be held at Sprout CoWorking Gallery 5:30-9pm.
The complete list of accepted artists in this exhibition:
Kelly Starspangled Brown
Rachel Brask recently worked with Chabad Harvard to lead a paint night themed for the Jewish Tu B’Shvat holiday. Rachel created a custom painting that incorporated many fruit-bearing plants highlighted as part of the annual celebration of trees: fig, date palms, almond, olive trees.
About 25 people received step-by-step instruction on how to complete the design on a canvas of their own, that they could take home at the end of the night. After demonstrating each step, Rachel would walk person to person to assist each individual with any questions about the painting process, clarifying steps up close, offering encouragement, and helping to “fix” the parts that guests asked for assistance with to stay on course.
Paint!: Rachel Brask, Jim Bradley & Mary Casale Gallery 175, Pawtucket RI
This exhibition explores how each artist uses paint for intriguing effects. Rachel Brask’s work incorporates transparent veils of color within a vertical format. Mary Casale works with lots of thick textures and patterns. Jim Bradley’s art conveys the fluidity of running paint.
Opening Reception Sunday, May 8, 2-3:30pm at Gallery 175, located in Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. Free parking for gallery. Gallery 175 website
Exhibition runs May 7-April 30, 2020. Gallery hours open during Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Hours
The newest restaurant in Seekonk MA is excited to have large, colorful and bright paintings by Rachel Brask to adorn its newly renovated walls for the opening two months of its new business. See 7 large paintings from Rachel’s “Abstracted Rainy Moments” series while getting a drink or dinner in Seekonk’s newest bistro and tavern! Show closes March 30, 2020.
Cashmere Bistro & Tavern is located through the lobby at the Seekonk Ramada hotel, 213 Taunton Ave, Seekonk, MA, open daily 4-10pm.
Vote for your favorite 12 paintings of Rachel’s Rainy Days to be included in a 2020 Wall Calendar!
Voting is open until Sunday, October 13 at Midnight EST.
To Vote, choose any of the following methods:
1) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the numbers of your favorite Top 12 paintings
2) Comment on this post on Rachel Brask Studios LLC Facebook or Instagram pages with your top 12 favorites.
3) Share or re-gram the social media post to get 6 extra votes! (If there’s 1-2 paintings you really like, you can put extra votes on those paintings!)
Calendars are available now for pre-ordering! Limited quantities, so purchase your calendars soon! Preorder pricing ends October 21!