This week's Dusty Rose: Rachael Pease

Rachael Pease is an artist based in New York. She is currently making work on fabric and paper. Rachael has shown her work across the U.S. and Canada. Her last exhibition, “Coming to Terms with Life”, was shown at the Beaux-Arts Des Ameriques gallery in Montreal.

Thank you for this great shoot. Which piece did you like the most?

I don’t usually wear romper suits like the ones in your store. But they were super comfortable and cute. I hate really binding clothes, so I liked that they were loose but still made me look good. The hooded plaid one was my pick of the bunch.

You use fabric a great deal in your work. Why do you make that choice?

As a medium, it can give you a kind of transparency. I use very fine fabrics that make layering easy and create a kind of ephemeral quality. I love the way fabric allows for bleeding, seeping and staining. It can make art look a lot more fleeting than fixed. Lots of my work deals with shadows and Rorschach-like imagery, and the tension between revealing things and concealing things. (See more of Rachael’s art at

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a family tree. This tree is more chaotic than the typical family tree, in which you can see clear relationships between generations or groups. In mine, there is one main bulb at the base of the tree that depicts figures in a dance. This dance, the meshing of their original human forms and parts, generates the new creatures in the smaller bulbs. These creatures are meant to be emblems of the self.

One of the pieces we feature is part of a collection called ‘Marriage’. Can you tell us a little more about it?

I struggle with titles, so you can’t read too much into that. But the piece has some images that are melodramatic, and some that I really want to have a monumental quality, even though the scale is small. The tension of marriage can be like that, melodrama mixed with monumental moments and emotions. I think a lot about ‘Of Mice and Men’, and Lennie loving and petting a rabbit so hard that he kills it. Plus there’s that great Bugs Bunny cartoon (‘Hiawatha Rabbit Hunt’, 1941) which plays with that idea.

So you’re saying your husband is a little animated bunny who you try to love, but are crushing to death?

Pretty much!

You and your husband Tadashi Moriyama live in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Do you like it?

It’s good. There are a lot of artists around, and lots of temporary galleries popping up everywhere. It’s a very diverse neighborhood too, with lots of different pockets of communities. I feel there are more Puerto Ricans than any other single group. But maybe that’s because they fly more flags. And they wear the flag on their clothing, too.

Did you grow up in a city?

I grew up in Franklin, Indiana, on a farm. I told you at the shoot that we didn’t wear a lot of clothes when we were children. You don’t have the same self-consciousness about appearances in a rural area, compared to the city. We basically ran around in our underwear all the time.

Why underwear?

I think because my underwear was always so much cooler than my clothes. I liked my She-Ra print the best. My sister had Wonder-Woman underwear, so we would run around playing the characters in their underpants. We didn’t like being bound up by all this restrictive clothing. I guess it’s a power and independence thing. It certainly explains why I like your comfortable rompers. In middle school I went the other way. Because my school wouldn’t let me wear anything fun, for I while I would come home and change into as slutty an outfit as possible. My mom would say I looked like a street-walker. And she meant it. She has no filter, God bless her.

What would she say about the pictures from this shoot?

“Eh. Whatever. I did what I could.”

Thanks, Rachael.

This week's shoot was photographed by David Wharton

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