Rachel Burgess – Deli Flowers My Husband Bought Me at SEFA NYC

by | Sep 16, 2023 | Blog post

Susan Eley Fine Art is pleased to present recent monotypes by Rachel Burgess in Deli Flowers My Husband Bought Me through November 4th at the SEFANYC – 90 Orchard Street in the heart of the LES arts district. Hours for SEFA NYC are Tuesday-Saturday, 11AM-6PM. Debuting a new series of still life monotypes, Rachel Burgess shares a glimpse into a simple gesture that punctuates the artist’s life.

Rachel Burgess presents large-scale monotypes that serve as windows into her life. In this newest series the artist reinterprets bouquets given to her by her husband. An NYPD detective, he often comes home late at night, bearing flowers from their local deli, the only store open at the late hour. The series began when Burgess decided to sketch the flowers. Attracted to their color and shape, the artist carved out simplified chromatic compositions in the small-scale drawings. These small sketches, included in the exhibition, give an even more intimate experience of the ephemeral gift. Burgess immortalized the short-lived flowers by printing them on a monumental scale. Each composition consists of large, smooth areas of bright bold color that depict the subjects in silhouette. Burgess creates snapshots of a moment as shadow figures of pure color fill the frame.

The artist’s depictions are abstracted and blurred at the edges, as if the scene itself has been
filtered through the artist’s lens. The viewer can only experience the private moment secondhand. Or perhaps the soft edges are to emphasize the brief lives of these gifts from nature, allowed to live on as fleeting visages. Much like Pop artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Burgess uses a familiar object or scene and reimagines it, taking with the imagery its context and inherent connections. Not only do Burgess’ monotypes give her audience a look into an intimate moment in her own life, but they remind us of a universal feeling, of the small gestures made by and for the ones we love. In printing these simple gifts Burgess wishes to not only express gratitude to her husband, but also to memorialize the city’s essential workers and services.