Rachel Siminoski, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of March 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Rachel some questions about her work and studio practice:
Q: Please you tell us about your background.
I grew up in a small town in central Ohio, and after graduating high school I went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for my BS in biology. During my sophomore year I decided that as much as I loved science (and still do!), it wasn’t what I wanted to pursue. I graduated with my BFA in drawing and printmaking, worked at an art gallery for a year, and recently I’ve been working for a screen printing company in the Charlotte area. I also started an online art magazine called Reciprocal in 2017, and I’m currently working on the fourth issue.
Q: How would you describe your work?
My work stems from my interest in biological systems and the intersection of protection and separation. Most of my paintings depict ambiguous enclosures in which biomorphic and structural forms interact symbiotically. While I’m influenced by various structures that I see on a daily basis (fences, enclosures, walls, etc.), I’m not actively attempting to depict anything from life. I’m more interested in the function that those forms are associated with- such as protecting, covering, holding, or supporting the things around it.
Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I start with small, simple sketches, although I never feel obligated to stick with my original plan. I like to work on multiple pieces at a time- if I try to focus on just one image, I feel like I end up drowning in ideas that don’t belong crammed together in one single painting. I also like to stop and take a moment to write about what I’m working on, ask myself questions about the decisions I’ve made so far, and gain some clarity on where I want to take the painting next.
Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’ve been thinking about how things evolve over time, and how the abstract characters and environments within my paintings fit into that idea. I think in the past I’ve thought about each of my paintings as separate, individual representations, whereas now I’m more curious about how they interact in relation to one another, and depicting them in a way that makes them seem less static.
I’ve also been playing with the temperature of the grays that I mix, and I want to explore how I can push that further while still staying true to the parameters that I set for my work. I’m hoping to continue exploring these ideas and make some smaller paintings that will lead to larger works once I get back to my studio in North Carolina.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? Who are your favorite local artists?
I really love Per Kirkeby’s paintings. He made sure to emphasize the importance of having structure within a painting, and that has always resonated with me. A few of my favorite North Carolina artists include Felicia van Bork, Marvin Saltzman, and Mariam Stephan.
Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I had an amazing experience in school. My professors were tough yet supportive, and I was surrounded by talented and driven peers. The environment wasn’t competitive in an unhealthy way like I think some people assume.
Q: What’s next for you?
That’s a big question! Hopefully I’ll be attending more residencies later on this year. I’m also starting to think about going back to school for an MFA in painting, so we’ll see where that leads me!