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Fiber Artist and Sculptor
Rachel Blythe Udell works with fibrous materials to create biomorphic sculptures, collages, and installations. Recently, her work was selected for the 2018 New Jersey Arts Annual juried by Ysabel Pinyol, Curatorial Director of Mana Contemporary, and Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Other exhibitions include a solo show at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, a three-person show at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Collingswood, NJ, and a site-specific installation at Lemon Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA. Udell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Art History, and has studied art and art therapy at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works in Collingswood, New Jersey.
I make sculptures, embroidery collages, and installations from heirloom and recycled clothing, yarn, reclaimed fabrics, and other materials. The language of textiles is also that of connection, threading together identity, history, biology, and personal experience. As human beings, we are part of an interacting, breathing membrane, transmitting and receiving the stuff of life between social and psychological systems, ecosystems, solar and cosmic systems. We flow, physically and emotionally, into our surroundings. The materials I use have their own histories, sometimes directly linked to mine, as in the case of familial clothing, sometimes not. Organic patterns in vintage laces and other textiles speak to one another, and seem to pulse with life. Always trying to minimize waste, I bundle together the scraps and ends from my crochet and embroidery pieces, to form new soft sculptural bodies. In this way, my work process literally begets new work, reproducing like a live organism.