Habitat is a weekly series that visits with artists in their workspaces.
This week’s studio: Rachel Feinstein; Tribeca, New York. “What’s interesting about life is you finally reach a point where you just figure it out,” Rachel Feinstein said recently in her SoHo studio, where she’s worked for almost seven years. “But then of course there’s a new problem that arises and you deal with that for the next five years.” Feinstein works with a variety of materials, but is perhaps best known as a sculptor. “I always have two different styles of making sculpture. One is like the classic Bernini kind of madness of forms all swirling together that are made with resin. And then there are these other paper ones that are mimicking a drawing vs sculpture.” She prefers working with wood and resin, but currently, she’s in the developmental stages of creating large-scale pedestals. These garden sculptures are based on porcelain wares which will likely be bronze and patina white, a departure from the malleability of wood and resin. “What fascinates me is using a flat image and trying to make it three dimensional,” Feinstein said, referring to source imagery. “You have to make things up all the time”
In addition to sculpture Feinstein has recently contributed art direction to a number of publications including Garage, Numero, and New York magazine, recruiting friends and colleagues such as Grace Coddington, Helen Marden and Karen Elson to collaborate. “All of these projects kind of lend themselves to each other,” Feinstein said, motioning toward an image of The Seven Ages of Woman by Hans Baldung, who was was an assistant to Albrecht Dürer. His work commonly dealt with time, death, and decay, which Feinstein counts as a theme in her own work. “Even when I was 18 years old, I would make movies of myself as an old woman. You have a fantasy of that when you’re young, but when you’re older it’s not as romantic as you think.” Earlier this year, Feinstein created a portfolio in New York inspired by the painting, and continues to explore this theme in an ongoing project for next year.
Feinstein is currently in a group show titled “No Longer/Not Yet” at Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai. She is also involved in the process of building/designing a new home with her husband, the artist John Currin. “John and I had this idea that we’d create a mirrored room with paint on it. Our architect said that I should do it, but I don’t want to live with my work everyday because I would actually be very critical of it and I couldn’t relax. So we’re having someone else do it.” Below, Feinstein takes us around her SoHo studio.
ALL PHOTOS: KATHERINE MCMAHON