Earthly Delights - Meet the Model, Rachel Rosenfeld

For our S/S’19 Jewelry Collection “Earthly Delights” our in-house Designer and Jeweler Monique drew influence from Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych of the same name. The sensuous line explores the motifs and curiosities of the relationships expressed between humans and the natural world: foliage and skin as palm leaf earrings and palm hand studs, limbs adorned by jewels akin to the branches, flowers and fruit of trees, and the limbless serpent representing the creative life force within all of us.

The lookbook was shot at Ott’s Exotic Plants, a verdant dream of a nursery gem in Pennsylvania. The models we choose to collaborate with for your lookbooks are artists, musicians and creators, who live and work within the Moon + Arrow community. These people also align with our mission and tell the story of our pieces in a unique way.  For Earthly Delights our models were both striking, with the kind of beauty that stretches across many periods in art history.

One of the models for our capsule collection Earthly Delights is local painter Rachel Rosenfeld. Rachel recently graduated from Skidmore College with a Bachelor of Science in studio art and a minor in film and media studies. Rosenfeld works in oil paint - her paint application is smooth rather than textured, indicating careful layering over a longer period of time, and a generous use of solvents including linseed oil and damar varnish. She focuses on cropped figures and female and a-gendered forms. Her style has been described as both realist and graphic, combining her interest in graphic novels and zines, with her admiration for hyperrealism. Her inspirations range from comic books such as A Child’s Life by Phoebe Gloeckner and My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris, to realist figurative works by Dorielle Caimi, Riikka Hyvönen, and Jenny Saville. Painters Nicole Eisenman and Hope Gangloff inspire Rosenfeld’s goals involving storytelling through large-scale visual media.

Rosenfeld currently works at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, and had the coveted opportunity during her senior year at Skidmore to curate an exhibit on queer expression, titled They’re, Their, There, for the esteemed Tang Teaching Museum. She has shown in galleries in Glasgow, Scotland, Saratoga Springs, NY, Troy, NY, and Chelsea NYC. We asked Rachel some questions about her own creative process and where she foresees where her work is heading.

We asked Rachel some questions about her own creative process and where she foresees where her work is heading.

Where did you grow up and how did your childhood inform your work? Were you always interested in the arts? I grew up in Hastings on Hudson NY. I spent a lot of time in the woods looking for ghosts and talking to myself, like a bridge troll. Conversations with myself were basically fodder for delusions of grandeur which I would manifest as comics. I also made a lot of dumb videos of myself being a goon and at some point I figured out that I could create cartoon characters who could act out physical comedy that I was unable to, as a non-acrobatic 10 year old human. I’m not even an only child, I didn’t really have an excuse for being such a creepy recluse. I started painting when I was 17.

This line is inspired by spring, how does the transition of the seasons affect you? I’m generally a better person when it’s warm out - just much more affable and social.

You’re new to Philly, what do you like about the city? I love feeling constantly surrounded by creativity - all the murals, museums and galleries. Most of the people I’ve met here have artistic hobbies (if not their full-time vocation). I also like that Philly isn’t as overwhelmingly busy as NYC, but is still very active. Like, my apartment is on a really quiet street, but I’m never bored.  

Has your work changed since you have moved? Do you already sense an evolution happening? Well, my main medium is painting and since I can’t afford studio space right now I’ve been taking a sort of involuntary hiatus. That in itself though has spurred me to branch out into other methods of creating.

You currently work at the Barnes. What are some of your favorite pieces in their collection? I love everything by Chaim Soutine, particularly La Femme en Bleu. His chaotic and tactile technique (which included thick smears of paint applied with a palette knife, sticks, and his thumbs in addition to a brush) mirror his emaciated desperation in escaping the gestapo, as a Jewish artist, in 1940s Paris. I’m also really drawn to a work by Picasso entitled The Ascetic. The piece was completed during his blue period, which is said to have been catalyzed by the suicide of his friend Carles Casagemas during a dinner party in 1901. The Ascetic’s subject is a very gaunt man, seated at a table in front of an empty plate. His one hand is cupped around what looks like a potato, with his other hand posed similarly, but grips nothing, as though waiting for another hearty presence to take place in his palm. This gesture, combined with the subject’s unsteady and empty gaze, evokes a feeling of suspension and longing. While the subject of this work is unnamed, I imagine the titular Ascetic (a person who practices severe self-discipline and abstention) as a metaphorical self-portrait of Picasso himself, who may have still, in spirit, been awaiting Casagemas’ arrival at a dinner party that had long cleared of food and guests. Ch’all should check out the paintings; my pontificating is more effective with visual cues.

You make many different types of artwork. Do you have a favorite?
I’m excited about animation right now, and I think a lot of that excitement is due to that medium being much less explored than my other mediums. Like, I’m not really good at it yet, but I’m anxious to be. I’m most comfortable with painting. I’d like to incorporate my “writing” into more of my work.

Of all the creatures in “The Garden”, which one do you most identify with - in either the past, present or future? The pig dressed in a religious habit because I, too, make poorly-timed fashion choices.

What is your favorite place in or outside of the city to be in nature?The adirondacks babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (yee haw).

What is your favorite place for inspiration? The bathroom.

I love this. And a little humor.

Thank you so much for taking the time, Rachel. We are honored to have had your own magic and unique beauty added to the narrative of this project.

 The Earthly Delights Spring/Summer Capsule Collection
is available NOW in-store and online.

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