Down is the necessary orientation for any root and is a consistent compass for the evolution of my work. Growing down presents the best of gravity: the earth parts as water sinks in, roots reach down from a core, and the dark becomes the gathering place for opaque processes necessary for proper grounding. My work echoes these process and advocates for an ethics of deep rooting. Rooting is a necessary counter to a culture increasingly carried away by powerful wireless exchanges up above, failing to nurture the foundation needed to support and sustain the livelihood of humans and non-humans alike. Probing rootedness as a practice means exploring the connection of what is subtle and inherent within daily experience. For me this begins with deeply exploring material—that which is found in our homes, daily objects and bodies—to reveal inherent qualities, uncanniness, immanence and poetics.
In my work, I generate moments of slow material recognition—where bones presented as clean, bright dust piles are realized in their essence only through a gradual process of identification. At first, one does not realize they are encountering body matter. Similarly, ancient oil that makes up asphalt is forgotten for what it is, yet it symbolically and materially bears the weight of countless lives, dividing foot from earth and transforming large and small mammals into tire-flattened membranes and unidentifiable dusts. Reflective road lines coat and frame boundaries containing multitudes. These are materials we are trained into forgetting and overlooking. My work gestures to tell their stories as a means of reconnecting with place, relationship, and our own bodily presence on earth.
– Rebecca Beachy
Rebecca Beachy is an artist, writer, and educator in Chicago whose practice involves deepening attention to the materialities inherent in urban and natural orbits. Her work engages the many subtleties and the complex relationships we have with the natural world. She holds an MFA in Studio Arts and an MA in Art History from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Born in 1982, Beachy grew up in Denver, Colorado. Past exhibitions include Ralph Arnold Gallery with Roman Susan, Loyola University, Chicago; Sector 2337, Chicago; New Capital Projects, Chicago; Iceberg Projects, Chicago; FRISE, Hamburg, Germany. Beachy’s work has been featured in publications such as Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, UK; Æther Sofia/Haga, Bulgaria, Netherlands; City Creatures, University of Chicago Press, New New Corpse, Green Lantern Press. Beachy’s work has been written about in White Hot Magazine; ArtSlant; Hyperallergic; Armseye; Art Papers; NewCity Chicago; Chicago Reader; Chicago Tribune. Beachy is a recent recipient of 3Arts Make a Wave Grant. For more information about the artist, please visit rebecca-beachy.com.
Image: pillow + mammal skins (wrapped/coated in river clay)