Using geometry as a way to structure ephemeral sensations of light and air, Rachael Wren’s work creates a sense of place and atmosphere. The dense spaces in her paintings are inspired by moments in the natural world when edges seem to disappear and atmosphere becomes all-encompassing -- due to fog, snowfall, overpowering sun, or fading light at the end of the day. At these times, form and air mingle; space feels thick and has a presence as tangible as that of solid objects. To capture these sensations in her work, Wren weaves together marks of subtly shifting color, building up space through an interplay between a geometric system that anchors the work and a shimmering light that allows it to vibrate and breathe.
Underlying Wren's work is a concern with perception, with how the eye and mind process visual experience, often in surprising ways. The same color can look quite different in two parts of a painting and illusions of complete, volumetric forms can emerge from configurations of discrete, flat marks. Although it is clear to see how each piece of color was laid down, and thus how each painting was made, something enigmatic remains in the combination and cohesion of elements. In this way, her work makes viewers aware of the mystery and complexity of seeing.
Rachael Wren received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Washington. Her work has been exhibited in shows at Jeff Bailey Gallery, Geoffrey Young Gallery, The Painting Center, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, among many others. Rachael is the recipient of the Julius Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy Museum and an Aljira Fellowship. She has been awarded residencies at the Saltonstall Foundation, the Byrdcliffe Art Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Anderson Center, and the Artist House at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.