Rachel recently got an inquiry about buying this painting from a couple who were married in the gallery in which it and its siblings were showing. Their wedding photos and video are full of her images, so here’s a sweet memento hookup that might happen. Music swells, eyeballs moisten.
In another dimension the connection is a little more odd, yet apt. This series of work is called “Rescue.” Rachel found a very old lifesaving manual and appropriated/repurposed some of its images and text as part of the layering in these canvases (there’s also antique player-piano paper and a whole bunch of other stuff going on, some of which you can see above). Her theme is good intentions, miscommunication, and hurting the ones we love, which is just about right for a lot of marriages but maybe not what most newlyweds have in mind.
The central point of the lifesaving manual is that when you go to rescue someone who’s distressed, you probably need to beat them up and disable them first or they’ll drag you down with them. So there are all these images of struggling and grappling and submission holds and whatnot. Both people want the same thing, but at least one is working at cross purposes and the way through is pretty unappealing. At this point the metaphor is eerily capturing some significant fraction of my interpersonal relations, with me on both sides at one point or another.
There’s a real danger that the peril of one will become the demise of two. My dad was reflecting on the “pacification techniques” he learned in his Red Cross lifesaving school in relation to his own indifferent swimming skills. It’s a nice image that when we’re floundering we would be rescued by some super-competent, patient and gentle hero. More likely it’s whoever’s handy, and they’re just barely making it themselves.