A Rachelle Reichert photograph of dried roses dusted in graphite




CURATOR Michelle Nye, Program Manager, SFMOMA Artists Gallery

LOCATION Presented by the SFMOMA Artists Gallery

SHOW LIST Exhibition image details

PRESS SF Art Enthusiast and SF Chronicle

In the photographic series My Affair with Diana, Daniel Grant captures compelling vignettes of women using a Diana: a midcentury plastic camera embraced by contemporary artists for its simplicity of use, expressive results, and iconic square format. He used the same camera while traveling through the United States, Mexico, and Europe and found the photographs it produced favorably unpredictable: alternately crisp, then unfocused; moody, then stunning. These qualities prompted his use of the Diana for this photographic essay on the female form and the symbolic embodiment of the feminine as muse. The bodies he photographs morph from shadowed to brilliant, hard-edged to soft, as the arbitrary focus and pinhole vignettes characteristic of the camera lend at one moment a dramatic chiaroscuro and at another a dreamlike pictorialism. Equating the Diana with a lover, the series title hints at the shifting landscape of intimacy ― and implies that the greatest love affairs are those between artists and their work.

Rachelle Reichert’s large-scale graphite drawings of figures and flowers reference seventeenth-century vanitas painting, Renaissance nudes, Dutch floral painting, and contemporary advertisements, responding to notions of beauty, desire, and the feminine in classical and modern culture. By obscuring and erasing female nudes, often with flowers piled over their heads or encroaching on their bodies from all sides, Reichert alludes to the homogenizing erasure effected by the pursuit of beauty and the fleeting nature of the ideal in the face of inevitable decay and death. Magnifying the material of drawing, Reichert includes abstract explorations of the medium of graphite, a dense form of carbon — essential to all of life, and that which remains after incineration. Seen side by side, her works expand and contract drawing from its traditional forms, moving from highly detailed figure and still-life works to conceptual and formal acts of drawing realized as sculpture, photography, and installation. In this body of work Reichert pushes beyond the edges of drawing to consider perception, materiality, and formation. She reveals elemental qualities of the artist’s creative process and the corresponding qualities in nature is cycles of regeneration, perfection, decay, and death.





The images I produce tell a story of the experiences that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. My formative years were spent traveling through the United States, Mexico and Europe, where culture, art and the natural environment made a lasting impression. I searched for the best way to be expressive and to create my own unique form of storytelling. My voice was found through the novel and unique views of vintage, medium format film cameras. These cameras were first produced in the 1960’s as children’s toys. Today they have a cult following with photographers, not because of their perfection, but for their lack of precision, control and focus. By taking away the technical aspect of picture making, a sincere representation of the subject matter and vision of the photographer becomes evident.


Rachelle Reichert is a visual artist and art educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (Chochenyo Ohlone territory). Rachelle works in a variety of media to explore landscapes permanently altered by climate change and industrialization. She is interested in earth observation satellite imagery- how nature is composed in images and then circulated to a public, algorithmic visions, and natural systems to view how nature is manipulated by human behavior. Her research focuses on sites of specific extracted materials: salt, clay, lithium. Research findings are interpreted through drawings, photographs, and mixed-media artworks that focus on materials found at the site. Artworks embody multi-scale complexities of observing the natural world, both human and machine, and the emotional connections between the two.

Artwork is included in many public and private collections, including the Center for Art+Environment Archives at the Nevada Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Archive, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Library, Facebook, and Adobe, Inc. Reichert has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Center for Contemporary Art at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Anglim/Trimble Gallery, and September Gallery.

Her work has been reviewed and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Make: Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler and New American Paintings and she has completed permanent commissions for the Ritz Mandarin Oriental in Madrid, Spain and Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. She has presented her artwork at the California Climate Change Symposium, the San Francisco State of the Estuary Conference, and the American Geophysical Union Meeting and regularly lectures on her artwork and research.