Bio: Rachel Beer is a printmaker currently based between Central Oklahoma and Northern Illinois whose work parallels the themes of ecology with a restoration of the internal environment. Rachel’s work is heavily based in a love of drawing which extends into stone lithography and other printmaking processes. They received their Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2019. During their undergraduate career and the following gap year after graduation, Rachel was involved with the local arts community and participated in many events at the local community print shop, Resonator Institute. Rachel also traveled and studied abroad, taking art classes in Arezzo, Italy and attending a printmaking conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. After taking a gap year to work as a screen-printer in Norman, Oklahoma, Rachel moved to Dekalb, Illinois where they are now pursuing their Master of Fine Arts degree with a focus on printmaking and working as a graduate assistant in the print shop at Northern Illinois University. Rachel’s work has been included in many group shows, print exchanges, and publications throughout the Midwest, such as the 2020 Momentum Exhibition in Oklahoma City. Moving forward, Rachel’s goal is to continue making their work and to foster a meaningful involvement with the art community both within and outside of academia.
Artist Statement: My practice currently involves a combination of graphite drawing, stone lithography, monotype printing, and other various printmaking processes. Much of my inspiration comes from patterns and colors I find in nature, my research into ecological sciences, and my identity as a queer and disabled maker.
The images I create often depict interactions between domestic objects and the fecundity of the natural world. These works are a looking glass into my internal ecosystem, and they also envision the possibilities of restoration within my relationships to myself, my community, and my environment. From an early age, as I watched the humming and buzzing of insects and felt the richness of the living soil under my bare feet, I understood that I would never be free to fully belong to the rhythms of the natural world. However, I also had an awareness of my inability to fit fully within the confines of the hyperfeminine domesticity I was born into. I decided instead to go pencil-in-hand to the periphery. In this space between domesticity and wildness, I began to form my world using the silvery, glistening language of graphite. My practice has remained since then a tool of combination—of bringing together the fragments of myself that would otherwise remain untethered.
By joining my artistic practice with my interest in the studies of ecological sciences, I am developing a more complete view of my relationship to my internal and external environments. This allows me to use my studies of ecology as a framework which I can then parallel to the restoration of my own internal landscape. Through the act of drawing, I give form and permanence to my imagined internal ecosystem, holding it back from the brink of extinction. In studying the regeneration of my internal ecosystem after life’s disturbances, and by imagining the transformation of a degraded environment into one of flourishing biodiversity, I provide a lens through which to view the imagined possibilities of regeneration in our communal ecosystems as well. Ultimately, my work visualizes a reversal of destructive cycles and a migration towards