Rachel MacFarlane - Visual Artist



Rachel MacFarlane is a visual artist. She has an MFA from Rutgers University, a BFA, from OCAD University, and a Certificate of Advanced Visual Studies from OCAD Florence program. She’s had solo exhibitions at Nicholas Metivier Gallery,Toronto, Jarvis Hall Gallery, Mason Gross Gallery, NJ, the Howard Park Institute, Toronto, and Anna Leonowens Gallery, at NSCAD University in Halifax. She’s participated in group exhibitions in NYC, San Francisco, Florence, Quebec City, Halifax, Toronto, and Philadelphia. 

MacFarlane was awarded a 2018 Canada Arts Council Explore and Create Grant, the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence, the NSCAD Robert Pope Artist Residency, Triangle Artists Workshop residency, NYC, and was a visiting artist at Cow House Studios, Ireland. She received the Drawing and Painting medal from OCAD University, the Rutgers Mason Gross Dean’s Choice Award, and an Ontario Arts Council Grant. 

Her work is in the collections of the Esker Foundation, Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, The Donovan Collection at the University of Toronto & numerous private collections. She is represented by Nicholas Metivier Gallery and Jarvis Hall Gallery. 

To see her full c.v. click here.  

Artist Statement 

My most recent body of work is called Memory Gardens. It’s a series of paintings that depict personal memories of landscapes. The works lament the landscape, and manufacture new places through the process of painting. The foundation for each painting is a memory, allowing each to tell a unique narrative.

For over a decade, I have been building maquettes as a way to enter the process of painting. Lately, my models are made from paper in shallow boxes no bigger than a postcard. The constructions depict gardens, mountains, waterways, rock formations and other sites of landscape. I then lights these makeshift miniature spaces and uses them as the observational foundation for the paintings. The maquettes allow me to capture temporal light, physical form, and to create coloured atmospheres. I act like a studio-based plein air painter among these miniature paper gardens. Through this process I fabricate a new place, building it from the residue of memory, and the humble material of paper.

I try to create lush space for visual exploration. I look most to painters like Morandi, Cezanne, and Velasquez, who negotiate the poetics of depth, illusion, object, and common experience. I grew up looking at the landscape as a place for invention and storytelling.  Somewhere between these influences, experiences, and critique of nature, I find my position–creating place through methods of still life.

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