Rachael Grad

Fragments of memory are reflected in the seamless blending of cut up photographs and painted moments. The scenes are combined so that the viewer cannot easily see which parts are painted and which are photographs.

The broken pieces of collage symbolize the illusion of memory. What actually happened and what is remembered is unclear because recollections are nebulous in nature. Photographs appear to document events but the memories are questioned through the combined fragments of documented and imagined scenes.

This collage incorporates photographs I took in Tel Aviv, Israel in October 2019, one of my last trips pre-pandemic.

Tel Aviv Collage/Rachael Grad/2019/Mixed media on panel/16″x20″
Spying Cats/Rachael Grad/2012/Mixed media on panel/16″ x 12″

I tried to capture the sensation of something new and exciting to be discovered “just around a corner,” like how it feels wandering the streets, alleys and canals of Venice. My memories of Venice include a strong nostalgia for travel, discovery, lightheartedness, and adventure in my life before having children. I was fascinated by the experience of living in a different culture and city that’s both ancient and contemporary at the same time. In La Serenissima (Venice, Italy), with no cars and safe streets, humans interact, exist, and share common space with animals in a city.

My goal in this mixed media collage was to capture the light and atmosphere of a specific dead end alley (“calle” in Venetian dialect) in the height of summer heat and humidity when the humans and animals (house cats and dogs) moved more slowly and lazily. In this space, I got to know a friendly neighbourhood orange tabby cat. I have hundreds of photos, sketches, and paintings of this specific orange cat and the many happy, off-leash animals in Venice. Revisiting my travel photographs, creating a new world in a diorama collage, and painting from my moving set-up has been a way for me to travel without leaving home. The process allows me to revel in my daydreams and memories, and also to relive wonderful travel experiences while creating new artwork.

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