Rachel Niffenegger’s work focuses on the ephemeral state of the feminine figure in contemporary society, addressing notions of the body, sculpture, clothing and painting; alluding to both physical and psychological violence. Her three-dimensional works are bone-like and curvaceous with an almost weightless quality. Warped steel rods are covered in epoxy clay, each one an exotic skeleton, striking a pose. Her collages and stained fabrics (or shrouds) are preoccupied with fecundity and the macabre, at once psychedelic and mysterious. The shrouds also function as clothing, skins and spirits—a vestige of the body. In the Chicago Tribune, Claudine Ise wrote of Niffenegger, “[she was] making art world waves with horror-themed watercolor paintings of disembodied heads and mixed-media sculptures that looked like mummified body parts. By all rights, such grotesqueries should have been revolting, but in Niffenegger’s hands they were, and are, strangely alluring.
Rachel Niffenegger’s work has been included in group shows shows at Museum for Modern Art in Arnhem Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Tracy Williams Ltd in NYC , Bourouina Gallery in Berlin, Ceri Hand Gallery in Liverpool, The Suburban in Milwaukee, and in Chicago at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, and the Hyde Park Art Center. In 2012 she completed a 9-month residency at DE ATELIERS in Amsterdam. Chicago Magazine named her “Chicago’s best emerging artist” in 2010 and New City named her one of “Chicago’s Next Generation of Image Makers” in 2010, this after naming her the “Best Painter Under 25” in 2009. Niffenegger, born in Evanston in 1985, received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and lives and works in Chicago.