Reeve, Rachel

Based in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Rachel Reeve is an interdisciplinary artist with a BFA from NSCAD. She’s also an educator who has been teaching art in schools and in the community for over ten years. Reeve lived in Tokyo for three years in the early 2000’s, during that time she exhibited at the Canadian Embassy with a group of Canadian artists living in Japan. She has exhibited her work in Canada and the United States. Nature and sustainability are common threads that connect the works of the artist be it printmaking, mixed-media, functional designs from recycled materials or installation. Her nature oriented practice explores historical and current connections with nature including symbolism, stories and human interactions with nature. Reeve often draws on her experience of living in Japan with her use of printmaking, gyotaku and Japanese papers. “I am attracted to the respect and affection for nature that exists in Japan.” A selection of her Atlantic species gyotaku were the result of a collaboration with a local fisher and scientist.

Artist Statement

I am interested in human interactions with nature; how we value nature, the rituals and honouring  that occur through our day to day connections with nature, as well as the empowering and healing experiences that can take place within nature. As a child and youth I found solace in nature, this deep reverence continues today as I tend to my gardens and observe the wildlife on my woodland property. The late environmental pioneer Rachel Carson stated that “there is in us a deeply seated response to the natural universe, which is part of our humanity.

My most recent series is an exploration with a printmaking process called gyotaku, the traditional method of printing fish, originating from Japan in the 1800’s.

The gyotaku are a natural progression in my experimentation with printmaking processes. Unlike a print that is traditionally framed behind glass, I have modified a selection of prints to canvas with the intent of creating an immediacy through a mixed media composition. This series also includes gyotaku on raw muslin in the form of pillows. As a type of nature printing, unlike botanical printing gyotaku resonates on a visceral level. I am equally fascinated in the symbolism  and mythology surrounding animals and the natural world.

Nature and sustainability are common threads that connect my work, whether it be printmaking, mixed media or installation using recycled materials. Since living in Tokyo I have been attracted to the respect and affection for nature that exists in Japan. Each print in the gyotaku series expresses the life of a fish; how the fish was caught, the human connection in that process, and the waters it inhabited. Not only are the explorations with gyotaku a method of recording fish, they are also a unique expression of Atlantic Canada.

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