(Through March 20, 2020) Open Door Gallery — Rachel Bird: "Hymn to the Body"


(Through March 20, 2020) Open Door Gallery — Rachel Bird: "Hymn to the Body"

Event Presenter: 
Open Door Arts

The Open Door Gallery, located at 89 South Street in Boston, showcases the works of emerging and established artists with disabilities and works to convene the community in conversations around disability, identity, and culture.  

From the Artist

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what it means to me to have a body. A body that works and creates and does, and — just as often — refuses to work or create or do.

At fifteen, I fell at gymnastics practice and shattered my left arm. Gymnastics is predicated on trusting your body: knowing that your hands will be there to catch you, that muscle memory will carry you through. As a gymnast, I trusted my body. Then — in a fraction of a second — I did not. It’s been eight years of chronic pain and I am still learning to be comfortable with this body being my new reality.

Part of my process of reconciling with my own body has come through appreciating the diversity and beauty of the bodies around me and in my lineage. Drawing on — and subverting — the concept of the female nude in art, my work is both an homage to and a critique of the ways women's bodies, my own and others’, have been depicted.

Both the end result and the process of my work are influenced and informed by my body’s limitations and strengths. I combine printmaking methods with embroidery and other multi-media techniques to wallpaper the gallery with layers and layers of bodies, stitched together like clothing or sutured skin. Referencing imagery ranging from the sexual to the medical, I interrogate my own (mis)conceptions of what it means to be a woman, to be a body, and to be in pain.