Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Rachel Farmer

Rachel Farmer

Rachel Farmer is a Brooklyn-based artist, originally from Provo, UT. Her art encompasses a variety of media including sculpture, drawing, photography and video. She was awarded a 2013-14 A.I.R. Gallery fellowship and recent exhibitions include “Ancestors” (solo exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery, NY), “Illegitimate and Herstorical,” curated by Emily Roysdon (A.I.R. Gallery, NY), “#throwbackthursday / #flashbackfriday,” juried by Scott Chasse and Hrag Varatanian (Calico, NY) and “Land, Place, Performance,” curated by Laura Allred Hurtado (Granary Art Center, UT). She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and teaches at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Parsons the New School for Design.
Growing up in the American West, I was steeped in regional folklore passed down through family, religion, and mass media. I was raised on tales of strong women. But when you look at art of the American West, it is profoundly lacking imagery of women, in addition to lacking imagery of anyone other than the great white frontiersman or cowboy. When pioneer women are depicted, they are usually holding a baby or holding the hand of a young boy (a mother to these men). I've long been captivated by stories of my ancestors--both my Mormon pioneer ancestors and my pioneering queer ancestors. Mixed together, my ancestral figurines become pioneer women in action. Small enough to pick up in your hand, these women are engaged in various forms of labor, interspersed with occasional moments of rest and recreation. While they are shown independently as sculptures, these frozen actors also populate my photos and videos. I've traveled with them out west--retracing the original Oregon Trail in Wyoming, eventually traversing a contemporary Western landscape in my home state of Utah. I'm interested in a series of interrelated questions: What gets passed down through generations? What is memorialized and what is left behind, or willfully forgotten? What mythologies guide, or haunt our lives--both knowingly, or unknowingly? And how does queerness complicate a relationship with these mythologies?

View Rachel Farmer's CV (PDF)

Ancestors Under Wyoming SkiesAncestors Crossing Church Parking LotAncestor at Work (with Saw)Ancestors at Work (with Axes)Ancestors Setting Down Their HandcartAncestors HuddledAncestors at Rest

Brooklyn, New York
United States


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