2020 Fall Exhibition > Rachel Elizabeth Brainerd

My work provides the opportunity for viewers to consider their relationship with the ‘others’ of society. I create wearable, metal forms that discuss the psychological effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) found among refugees. I translate the inequalities of our society into tactile jewelry that offers insight into the harsh realities of physical and psychological survival in exile. I recognize my position of privilege, and utilize the materials I have to highlight the lack of resources and validate the experiences of oppression these individuals face. My work challenges those with economic comfort to recognize the pain of others, rousing them to accept responsibility for their role in social transformation.

I delight in constructing intricate works of metal with various hinged and swiveling mechanisms that offer a doorway into my conceptualization of refugee trauma. I exploit the natural curiosity of viewers to wear and touch these moving elements, and thus briefly step into another’s experience. While my audience and I have the luxury of removing these external forms, refugees have not chosen to carry the burdens forced upon them. I cast blue tarpaulin in resin with embedded photographs from newsreels of refugees in flight to visually reference the temporary building materials and living conditions found in refugee camps. The burned resin images evoke a sense of loss and longing: the memories of countless lives threatened by the disintegration of their homes, and the fragility of human life. The metal forms, tarnished by patina and age, become a witness to this passage of time, and reside in a worn, familiar context that invites intimate connection and understanding instead of reverent distance.

The secondary titles of these works reference the cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Find more of my work at: www.rachelelizabeth-studio.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelelizabeth-bra…
Instagram: @rachelelizabeth_studio
Venmo: @Rachel-Brainerd-11

ruptured safety / social isolation
Copper. Liver of Sulfur. WD40
18" x 3" x 3"
2020
ruptured safety / social isolation
Copper. Liver of Sulfur. WD40
18" x 3" x 3"
2020
ruptured shelter / figure study
Vine charcoal. Paper, 80lb
18"x 23"
2020
$150
inescapable past / intrusive memory
Copper. Brass. Resin. Tarpaulin. Printer Ink. Liver of sulfur. Fire
4"x 4"x 2.5"
2020
inescapable past / intrusive memory
Copper. Brass.Resin. Tarpaulin. Printer Ink. Liver of sulfur. Fire
4"x 4"x 2.5"
2020
haphazard defense / hypervigilance
Copper. Brass. Liver of sulfur. Found brick
4"x 3" x .5"
2020
haphazard defense / hypervigilance
Copper. Brass. Liver of sulfur. Found brick
4" x 3" x .5"
2020
haphazard defense / figure study
Vine charcoal. Paper, 80lb
18"x 23"
2020
$150
refugee dream / sleep disturbance
Copper. Brass. Resin. Tarpaulin. Printer Ink. Liver of sulfur. Found magnet wire. Fire
26"x 4"x .5"
2020
(Detail) Image transfers of refugees in makeshift sleeping conditions
Copper. Brass. Resin. Tarpaulin. Printer Ink. Liver of sulfur. Found magnet wire. Fire
26"x 4"x .5"
2020
trauma in time
Copper. Brass. Liver of sulfur. Mirror.
25"x 2" x .5"
2020
trauma in time
Copper. Brass. Liver of sulfur. Mirror.
25"x 2" x .5"
2020
trauma in time / figure study
Vine charcoal. Paper, 80lb
18"x 24"
2020
$130
lens of perpetual refuge / distorted perceptions
Copper. Brass. Steel. Resin. Tarpaulin. Acrylic. Fire
12"x 4" x 1"
2020
lens of perpetual refuge / distorted perceptions
Copper. Brass. Steel. Resin. Tarpaulin. Acrylic. Fire
12"x 4" x 1"
2020