Rachel Leckman

Letters from Sea #2, 2018-2019

Paper, Inkjet ink, and marker
35"x 52"

Transparent Threads, 2019

Translucent Sheet, Acrylic Plastic, Sharpie, white out
Variable Dimensions

Snail on Shelf, 2019

Plastic, ink, acrylic paint
Variable Dimensions

Silk Threads, 2019

Nylon lining, thread, nylon cord
36’ Diameter

Artist Statement


In my practice I use photography and texts, usually familial material, to bring to light narratives that might otherwise be hidden in the clutter of history. I archive to bring light to the wounds of war and to uncover the lost souls of the people who lived before me and try to unearth the kinships I might find. I add layers of  transparent media atop my works, they can be transparent sheet drawings, clear ink, or clear vacuum seal forms. I use these additional elements to insert myself into my original source. These layers represent the ghosts I place throughout my work to represent the lurking marks of history through life and how everything carries the marks of histories’ healing on it. I organize my materials into contextual pairings and groups to create an atlas for viewers to get an inside look to how I sift through the members of my family, their stories and what was going on around them. In choosing pieces from my family archive or the atlas of history, the relationship of my selected items is the most important thing. In working with and in the archive there are more questions than answers. For example, what does it mean for objects to live next to each other in public display, storage, online, or in the database? Do we lose the original context of an image or object when moved next to something completely different? Or even when we move it into a different setting like the museum? In exploring the materials left by my family, I hope to be able to further resolve the puzzles of my life. I can extend the research of my family archive, through family photos and personal collections to bring clarity to the afterlife of history.