Rachel Morrissey was born in the late 80s in Dorchester, Massachusetts and grew up in the Connecticut suburbs. Morrissey received her MFA in May 2016 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She earned a Post-Baccalaureate degree from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2014 and a BFA in Studio Art from Indiana University in 2009. She is a mother of two young children. Morrissey currently lives and works in her home studio in Medfield, Massachusetts.
"Rachel Morrissey’s narrative paintings give form and context to an invisible struggle with mental health, motherhood, fertility, pregnancy and daily life. Her paintings contain reoccurring imagery of unknowable strange plants as romantic associations for motherhood and fruitfulness, while weeds and vines represent the tension of her ongoing battle with anxiety. This playful balance of colorful imagery evokes seductive properties one moment and strangling vulnerability in the next. The human form is clearly not depicted but its presence is noted through motifs of the body. Morrissey creates these paintings through the lens and history of botanical art with a nod to childhood bedtime stories. She hopes to seduce the viewer into this seemingly colorful, jubilant world, leading them to understand that all is not what it is seen above the surface. The motifs and patterns oscillate along the continuum of her experience as a mother finding exuberance, love and joy at one end and utter despair at the other. Morrissey’s work continues to ‘bear fruit’ as she chronicles and interprets the usual and unusual curveballs of life and motherhood through art and imagery."
Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.
I was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts and grew up in Connecticut. I have always loved everything art related from a young age. My first drawings I can remember were mermaids, I loved drawing mermaids. I studied studio art in undergrad at Indiana University, drawing classes were my favorite. I ended up taking on roles as a graphic designer for many years before returning to school to take a deep dive in my true love of painting in drawing - I returned to Boston in 2013 to pursue my MFA at MassArt in painting after a one year post bac at SMFA.
What kind of work are you currently making?
I am currently working on a year long project where I create a drawing a day with a written entry that reflects my daily life as a mother with two young kids. The drawings are similar to my painted works in that I use plant and flower forms to narrate my life experiences. I have titled this project "Lonely Mom with Lovely Kids" and I will be publishing it as a book at the end of the year. Some of the sketches have already been translated into paintings.
What is a day like in the studio for you?
Every day is so different, but most days I get into the studio (in my basement) around 8pm after the kids are in bed and I stay in there until 11pm or later. I have always been most creative at night (I have tried the early mornings but it has never worked for me) I spend this time painting and drawing. I do more 'admin' type stuff during the day while I am with the kids, like scheduling social media posts or photographing work.
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
It is not an art book but I am currently enjoying Tunde Oyeneyin's book, Speak, I am finding it wonderfully inspirational. I have a lot of Agnes Pelton books open in my studio right now, I especially love flipping through "Another World". Another book I often have open in the studio is Landscape Painting Now, I find new inspiration every time I open it. I am always reading many different books at once and also love have an audiobook going at all times when I am in the studio.
Where can we find more of your work?
I am currently in a group show called Raw Emotion that is on view at Jameson & Thompson until June 30th - it is an exhibit featuring 34 Massachusetts mothering artists and I couldn't be more excited to be included. I post pretty regularly the goings-ons in my studio on Instagram @rachelmorrisseyart and I try to keep my website uploaded as much as I can at www.rachelmo.com