Rachel Rose: Lake Valley

 

Rachel Rose has warranted her fair share of success in recent years. With solo exhibitions in New York and London (The Whitney, Serpentine Galleries), Rose has set the art world on fire, consuming it with a blaze of intricate aesthetics and unnerving narratives.

Predominantly centering her artistic practice on video installation, Rose’s latest project comes in the format of a cell animated video set against the backdrop of Pilar Corrias. The lean yet clean space of Pilar Corrias Gallery gives Rose’s Lake Valley a sublime mise en scène. Visitors pad across the invitingly warm carpet, weaving between the speakers and their wires to find a snug spot from which to watch the young artist’s current venture. With a domestic nostalgia hinting at the familiar, Rose sets up the perfect situ for Lake Valley.

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The screening of Lake Valley follows the journey of an imagined household pet in a heavily suburban environment. The rabbit-dog hybrid is visibly lonely and seeks companionship in the metropolitan chaos of contemporary life, thus abandoning its home and migrating to the only green space left in the city’s neighbourhood. A sad story of detachment and separation unfolds to the audience, ending with the Eeyorish protagonist anxiously settling in a ruptured and polluted environment.

The adept layering of textures in Rose’s imagery comes from 19th – 20th Century children’s book illustrations. The American artist’s scaly aesthetic vividly presents themes of brutal fragmentation in the social, cultural and political environment of today. The loss of attachment in the pet’s life resonates a larger humanitarian concern for a lack of connection in a world brimming with digital reliance and passivity toward environmental matters.

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Lake Valley’s kaleidoscopic overlay of illustration and texture fluctuates a dreamy atmosphere throughout the gallery. This daydream state is intensified by a gentle, lulling soundtrack that enchants the visual story into an outwardly utopian setting. Guised as an illusory fantasy, Rose’s film is in fact a disconcertingly truthful depiction of society’s lack of morality in the modern world.

Rose’s abundant research and sourcing of material sharpens her practice to that of an astute and remarkable video artist of the twenty-first century. Her ability to reverberate truly emotive directives within a visually beauteous flux of borrowed imagery proves her a daring character indeed, a surprisingly rare find amongst many contemporary artists.

Rachel Rose’s Lake Valley is on display at Pilar Corrias Gallery until 29 September.

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