Given the criteria that the guest artist-in-residence to follow me must 1. work in a different medium, and 2. live elsewhere, choosing March's Inside Out contributor proved more difficult than I thought. It basically meant I needed to cold-call somebody. This isn't usually my forte, but I was so glad when I worked up the courage to contact someone I've been so enamored with.
Rachell Sumpter is a West Coast artist who creates explosive, fearlessly colorful works on paper. Sumpter builds a new mythology, a blend of cultural archetypes that speak to one clear vision. Her work, for me, is about renewal, and in it I'm continually renewed. It articulates a utopic vision, a new religion/culture/lore, based on idealistic pursuits of back-to-the-land ethos. While beauty and lightness are present, the work's power is enhanced by its darker, stranger moments.
She has a long list of accolades, and has been exhibited worldwide, including at Allston Skirt (Boston), Richard Heller (Los Angeles), Sunday L.E.S. (New York), the Orange County Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work has been written about in the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Giant Robot, ArtWeek, Artforum and McSweeney's, to name a few.
In addition to these accomplishments, Sumpter is also a mother. My inquiry into her practice was initially sparked by the desire to hear about her ability to balance a serious career and the rest of life. I'm so thankful she accepted my request and for the opportunity to hear more about her process and practice.