Interview with Rachel Rossin by Brooke Nicholas

Installation view, Rachel Rossin, BOOHOO STAMINA, Magenta Plains, New York NY


Magenta Plains, New York, NY
April 17 to May 22nd


Conducted by Brooke Nicholas on the event of Rossin's solo show at Magenta Plains, BOOHOO STAMINA

Brooke Nicholas: I'd like to start with color. How would you characterize the palette you worked with for this set of paintings?

Rachel Rossin: I often regard color as the hormones of a painting. In this body of work there are a lot of areas of what could be read as soreness or inflammation. Red, glowing edges of things, subsurface scattering... I am consistently attracted to very specific pigments - my consistent companions are pthalo, sevres, alizarin, and vermillion.

BN: BOOHOO STAMINA includes classic paintings alongside the combine paintings you invented, which mix programmed illustrations on spinning electronic fans with an oil-painted canvases. Are you satisfied with this mix of mediums or do you feel you have more experimenting to do?

RR: I’m trying to expand the vocabulary here for a lived experience that’s difficult to describe visually. There will always be more experimenting. I’m very excited about the metal combines in this work though, that’s brand new.


Rachel Rossin, Swollen Tulip, Goya Touch, 2021, Oil and oil stick on canvas, 78.25h x 60w in

BN: When you draft these in-between worlds, are they ideal spaces? What voids do they fill or summon? How do they supplement painting, what I observe as the core of your practice?

RR: Those methods are ways for me to get to areas that are hard to reference which I then can mine as raw data or inspiration for my paintings. My finished Virtual Reality works are different of course because they’re inside the medium of VR, not just using tools.

BN: Last time we hung out you were in a post-body kind of mood, how are you feeling these days?

RR: My work has always been tethered in or around states of embodiment. With so much of my social and work life extended even further into virtual spaces I felt more like making a body of work about marking time with lipids.

BN: What is self-repair in the context of this set of works?

RR: That’s really what the title of the show is [BOOHOO STAMINA] and why the paintings are built with braces into them.


Rachel Rossin, Figment of a Fugue State, 2020, Oil and airbrushed acrylic on panel with embedded holographic display, 60h x 48w in

BN: I admire the consistent visual vocabulary and iconography you have used throughout your practice. Can you elaborate on some of those icons and what they stand for in works included in BOOHOO STAMINA.?

RR: Well there’s the caduceus - which is better known as the medical staff with two intertwined snakes. There’s the harpy I often use. There’s a lot of mech suits and mechanical supports - shapes taken from military exoskeletons that operate as braces for the paintings.

BN: Finally, I wanted to ask you about storage and hoarding – maintaining an archive of 3D digital assets is technically difficult and I’d imagine, an emotional burden as well. What has that process been like? How do you feel when you're bumping around your own archive?

RR: It’s pleasant and also uncomfortable. When it’s pleasant it gives me that pale blue dot feeling. When it’s uncomfortable it’s because I’m embarrassed by something - a feeling I love to play chicken with. Some of my most favorite things now are the things that used to cringe the hell out of me. There’s a special alchemy in mining humiliating things, I keep them around because I think it’s fascinating. I learn a lot by watching how I am reflected back by way of interacting with these objects and how those relationships change over time. WM



Brooke Nicholas

Brooke Nicholas is an independent curator based in New York City. 

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