In Rachel Roske’s series exploring shadows, the unprimed canvas is a stage for action to take place, like Rauschenberg’s white paintings or the cave of Plato’s allegory. Sometimes the canvas appears as light, the shadow playing the role of negative space; sometimes these roles are reversed, the canvas cast as negative space. In a process that involves both painting and drawing, she applies liquified powdered graphite to unprimed canvas, then works into the painted graphite with pencil to achieve seamless transitions from areas of deep shadow against lighter, luminous passages. In another series, small paintings of anonymous objects are like monosyllabic statements standing in for words that don’t exist.
Rachel Roske is a Los Angeles-based artist and Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art & Design. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, she first learned how to paint in the mountains of Sedona, Arizona under the tutelage of “cowboy-artist” Buck McCain. She went on to study painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, earning a BFA in 1999. She attended graduate school at the Yale University School of Art where she received an MFA in 2004. Roske has completed residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Vermont Studio Center and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at various venues nationally.