Rachel MacFarlane

The Tools

“Rachel MacFarlane’s paintings alongside her small fragile sculptures she creates to inform style, color, and composition of her paintings are some of the best examples for these ideas. These models have never before been exhibited. Even more intriguingly, the cross-media influence between her found art sculptures’ fragile nature and the exuberance manifested in paintings is worth a deeper look.” - Monique Delaunay, Editor SFArtenthusiast 


Curated by: Nora Rodriguez

1/8/14 – 1/25/14
Root Division
3175 17th Street (at South Van Ness)
San Francisco, CA 94110

The Tools is a look through the wrong end of the telescope, examining art as apparatus and instrument. The show contains tools artists have constructed in view of executing their work, along with work that itself functions as a tool. What kinds of devices do artists create in the process of making? And how can the work itself become a tool for critique, education, or expression?

The Tools functions in two parts: In the first, utensils, models, and devices that artists have crafted specifically for their working process. How does preparation for work become part of the piece itself? How are aesthetic concerns manifest even before an artist touches the “final” piece? 

The show’s second part turns the concept of tool on its head, presenting work that is in dialogue with the function or aesthetic of tools. These works blur the line between objects made and objects made to make, object as ends and object as means. 

The show pushes against the notion of tool as a primarily physical aid. In the words of Robert Irwin, “The act of art is a tool for extended consciousness.” In some sense, then, all art is a metaphysical tool. From here, the challenge may be finding a big enough toolbox.

Evan Barbour
Josh Blackwell
Brad Brown
Anna Craycroft
Marshall Elliott
Ruben Gutierrez
Phyllis Ma
Rachel MacFarlane
Mie Mogensen
Michael and Rosie O’Gorman
Jeana Poindexter
Zin Taylor

Using Format