Rachel Rossin,
Rachel Rossin, "From Save As To Folder," 2016. Virtual reality simulation, virtual reality headset, custom software, computer

1275 Minnesota St / bitforms gallery

Upheaving traditional notions of portraiture, landscape, and still life, Rachel Rossin’s paintings and virtual reality works reflect memory, reality and the technological age that defines our current era. Formally trained as a painter and self-taught a computer programmer, the artist makes both oil paintings and VR pieces, works that inform one another yet also stand as autonomous works. The imagery in this body of work filter a nostalgic view of her childhood in Florida through an entropic lens. The resulting images are blurred, smeared, transmogrified environments caught in a state of permanent denouement. With a brilliant palette and bold paint application, the results tread between representational painting and expressionist abstraction that allow for the viewer to bring his or her own interpretation to the works. These paintings appear and disappear as flaccid trophies for the viewer to chase within the watery expanse featured in the accompanying virtual reality work From Save As To Folder.

To create the works, she begins by making first “drafts” of the paintings on a computer screen, which are then altered by the tools of virtual reality where “worlds are set loose on themselves: gravity finds itself inverted and once strictly 2-d paintings are re-purposed in cloth dynamics simulations…. The paintings are thus subjected to re-purposing with the final result being work on canvas made from these virtual tableaux – manifesting what was previously digital into the physical – where I act as the entropic moderator” (interview with the artist). Using these sketches as inspiration, she then hand paints each canvas, allowing her painterly instincts to take over and guide the direction of the finished work. She simultaneously makes her VR environments, and each reflects the other.