Meet the Artist: Rachel Brumer

Beloved Quilt

1997, Quilts Series, Arlette Montelmarcher 2/11/41, 91 x 91 inches

Growing up in a “hyper-verbal” family and feeling that she could never keep up with their loquacious nature, Rachel Brumer found other ways of expressing herself. This is what brought about her eclectic work history, which includes a brief dancing stint with Ringling Brothers Circus, and eventually led to her career as a studio artist. As the latest artist to show her work in our SODO café, Rachel shares about her unique approach to creating a series.

“I have a strong belief in the power of alternate forms of language,” explains Rachel. “For me, they are so involving that sometimes when I am working I am actually not thinking in English but some kind of kinesthetic and visual language.”

Mourning the loss of her good friend Daniel who passed away in 1990, Rachel made a quilt to pay tribute to him. This memorial was the genesis for her latest career. Since then she’s created an entire series of quilts to honor children who perished during the Holocaust as well as many other series of work. An avid reader, Rachel’s most recent collection called “Movable Type” combines her love for the shape, design, and feel of books.

Drawing upon her past professions as a modern dancer and American Sign Language interpreter and her collaboration with other artists, Rachel’s work conveys a powerful message.

“I worked with Bill Evans, Dan Wagoner, Mark Morris, Lucinda Childs, and one of the most important experiences in my professional life was working on the opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson,” remembers Rachel. “I saw amazing works by Llory Wilson, Pat Graney, and Wade Madsen in Seattle; and Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch, and many others in New York.”

You can find her work in our café through the end of July, and then at Sun Valley’s Friesen Gallery through August 25. In the meantime, she is preparing for a different sort of exchange.

“I’ll be showing work at Anchor Art Space in Anacortes along with a wonderful group of other artists. My work there will be completely different than what you see [at SODO],” Rachel adds, referring to the “Drawn In” exhibit from August 2 through September 15. “It also has a trading component. If you contribute a small work on paper, you can take home a small work of mine.”

Think of it as just another form of communication.