The exhibition “Real Fragile” on view through July 17, 2022 at the Geary is Rachel Owens‘ most memorable.
The most private work Rachel Owens has delivered, it was made during the progression of her life from New York City to Amenia, New York, where she resided from approximately 2020. The materials used by Rachel Owens are fundamental to the significance and type of the work.
The objects in “Real Fragile” investigate the flickering idea of presence, where the appendages of individuals, plants and trees fold together.
Two colossal stumps: what were once gigantic trees, are not yet immobile, but grow as the weak type of a body that sets them in motion. These two huge ash trees were killed by the ash borer beetle and felled by Rachel Owens when she bought the land. The felling of these colossal trees was a painstaking exhibition, and the sculptures remember the trees.
The shortened appendages become a tooth and a bent knee, grunting and growing mushroom decorations. Molar #3 was taken from the felled appendage of a 60-year-old Norwegian maple, and the knee: part of a huge ash tree that surrendered to the ash borer beetle, a transfer from a global economy that has wiped out the North American ash tree.
Its small drill holes have been illuminated with paint, becoming undulating insect designs. A few torn yews lift a pile of potatoes molded in gum and broken glass.
The hidden world has painted toenails and fits the situation. Yew trees are referred to as the tree of death, harmful to people and creatures. This evergreen also contains synthetic substances used in disease medications, but it is perhaps most notable as a famous shrub support for garden molds.
What looks like three sails is put on a stand. Gloves are given with the purpose that one can handle them by feeling their weight. These end up being the inner parts of the veils worn by Rachel Owens during the pandemic. This is the space of her breath; a true sign of air delivered in the most durable of materials: bronze.
It’s not hard not to remember that individuals have always been a part of nature, but when Rachel Owens conveys these liberal snapshots of closeness through “Real Fragile“, it becomes a little easier to take note.