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Live Art Critique: Rachel Huang

Rachel Huang

acrylic on canvas
20″ x 16″


Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement

“I am a college student looking to transfer to art school most likely as an Illustration major. I have always been surrounded by art materials and traditions as a kid, but it wasn’t until college when I realized art’s full potential as a medium of communication and became more intentional with how I planned, constructed and concluded my pieces.

I enjoy working with colored pencils, watercolor, gouache, acrylics and India ink and have started exploring natural dyes. Most recently, I have been inspired by the structures, patterns and colors of the natural world and have been studying them for new projects. Nudibranchs are the current research topic!

‘Protectors’ was a class assignment where we selected three unrelated objects and floated them on the picture plane. I selected creatures that move gracefully and majestically, and created a dominantly green/blue/purple color palette in order to create a dreamy atmosphere.

The house was selected for its rigidity to contrast the organic shapes of the creatures. As I was creating this I realized that it was a little bit of a self-portrait about cultural identity as an Asian-American growing up in a beach town.

These creatures appear as parental figures, mentors, protectors, maybe even intruders encircling “home”. What are your interpretations? My primary intentions were to create a painting with depth, contrast, and eventually a story line. To build the piece I first researched and sketched out the objects to understand their form. I then painted a green and purple underpainting, the basis for the eerie palette and proceeded to build the layers primarily using thin layers of paint (water + medium).”

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Acrylic Painting on Canvas, Rachel Huang

Artists, artworks & books mentioned in the critique

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss, written by Claire Nouvian, Chris van Allsburg’s book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Jumanji, The Polar Express, Edward Hopper & his painting Nighthawks, John James Audubon, and Albrecht Dürer’s silverpoint drawing Self-Portrait at the Age of 13, and his watercolor painting The Right Wing of a Blue Roller, and the 1988 film Heathers.

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