Rachel Harris-Huffman is a New Mexico transplant from the small industrial town of Bradford, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a BFA in Fine Arts & Crafts, Rachel moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she pursued additional studies in Arts Management at the University of New Mexico. In addition to her studies in fine art, Rachel has a degree in Geographic Information Technology, and has worked in transportation and urban planning, and land surveying. Her interest and studies in geography, geology, land use and ownership, and surveying have a visual and conceptual impact on her work.
Rachel’s work is distinguished by its bold use of color and pattern. She works in a variety of media and arenas including drawing, painting, photography, collage, printmaking, and public art.
She has professional experience working in the arts as the Co-Founder/Coordinator of Harvest Community Supported Art, Board Secretary for OFFCenter Community Arts Project, a Curriculum Consultant for University of New Mexico’s Fine Arts Program, Curator of Pacific Exhibits micro-gallery, and she is currently the Outreach and Education Coordinator for City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Division. She also has experience working in art galleries, cartography, graphic design, and interior decoration.
Rachel’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States, and she has pieces in the permanent collections of the City of Albuquerque and the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, as well as those of a private collectors.
Artist Statement - Rock Collection
My Rock Collection is a series of intensely colorful, abstract, 2D mixed-media drawings and paintings on paper. It is about toying with the idea of collecting precious objects, and questioning what makes an object precious. I like to think of these paintings as “instant artifacts.” Rather than antique finds, family heirlooms, or rocks and gems found by digging and mining, these rocks are created immediately (geologically speaking) in 2D, and hung in "display boxes" (frames) like specimens. These works are created by painting with watercolor and ink on Yupo, allowing the pigments to bleed and dribble as they will (my approximation of geologic deposition), and then they are cut and shaped (like one might a gem), into pleasing forms. The Yupo paintings are then adhered to acrylic on paper backings, and shadows are "cast" in graphite.
I loved to collect things as a child, from rocks, to shells, to spider webs (by rolling them up and keeping them in a lunchbox). I still can’t resist an interesting rock, shell, or seedpod. I think the impulse to collect is an innately human thing. We all have a thing that we like to pick up, but why? To demonstrate status, to preserve memories of a bygone time, because of emotional attachment, for the thrill of the chase, or some other reason. These paintings are about removing as many of these conditions as possible, and asking, what is the value of the things we collect, and if they don’t have history or personal meaning, does that make them less valuable.