rebecca purcell

World Maker

Heterogeneous

musingsrebecca purcellComment

2013

Rebecca Purcell Archive - Photographer Max Vadukul

Rebecca Purcell Archive - Photographer Max Vadukul

Trying to choose a career — a path in life — has not been an easy endeavor. It has been such a torture at times that, for the most part, I let life choose for me. I have been attracted to literally hundreds of interests — the map of my future resembling fishing net that stretches to the moon.

But about a year ago, I finally discovered a kind of path.

Although I never really chose it as a career goal, clearly styling is a large part of what I do; the evolution of consciousness has emerged as a genuine and persistent curiosity; and somehow both are intimately tied in with a life long interest in the dynamics of objects.

Rebecca Purcell Archive  - Stylist and Photographer Rebecca purcell

Rebecca Purcell Archive  - Stylist and Photographer Rebecca purcell

The kind of objects I am attracted to are generally referred to as “vintage.” O.K. I like dirty white plastic — besides this there’s very few contemporary bobs in the bunch. There are some warm feelings toward contemporary art but most of the love is for outsider art. On the other hand, I am interested in the outer edge of evolutionary thought and applaud revolutions in any field. The former does not quite fit with the latter. So I have spent my life uncertain as to whether I am suffering — aesthetically speaking — from an ignorant or “lazy” eye; or if I am delusional when it comes to understanding my ontological interests and just fooling myself as to their “a la mode” inclinations.

Rebecca Purcell Archive 

Rebecca Purcell Archive 

I have looked at my preferred, time-touched objects from many angles, hoping that by delving deeply into their matrix, I may find a source that would propel them into the future. I have found some aspects that I could prompt toward this direction, but the objects I love remain, to a substantial degree, stuck behind a visual façade of nostalgic — i.e. regressive — trappings. If not contemporary, couldn’t I conjure some love for something at least modern? Couldn’t I at least love that Eames lounge chair everyone seems so crazy about? Instead, I kind of hate it. 

It helped to realize, that at this point in the history of aesthetics, basically everything is trapped behind the same barrier: “modern” is now a nostalgic term, followed by “contemporary” which may be just another way of saying the “residual affects of modernism”...

The thing is, clean lines just don’t invade my senses. They don’t needle in and then punch me with a kind of sickening feeling of intense connection and joy — like that tatty needle case, or a selection of jacquard ribbons lined up in a row. 

Rebecca Purcell Archive - from article in Where Women Create

Rebecca Purcell Archive - from article in Where Women Create

How can I pull an evolutionary rabbit from a vintage hat! That seemed to be the question. 

Finally, after years of speculation, exploration and backward glancing, an answer emerged: I instinctively shy away from objects that represent my current cultures love affair with scientism, bottom-line, negative rationality, and reductive speculation for the future. Instead I search the past for interesting seeds that may reveal a very different future— a kind of stepping backward to see forward. 

The artist in me is continuously searching for hints and clues among the forgotten, the time worn, the discarded and the nostalgic, researching the evolution of consciousness and culture, looking for connections that could point to a new future. The stylist in me searches for nuance, looking for new relationships between objects, and creating physical association through placement. While not identical, they are similar and corresponding pursuits.

So — this is my path — my calling and practice — I am an artist as stylist… not sure exactly how this manifests but I know what it means. In other words, I know what I am doing I just don’t know what it is.

Rebecca Purcell Stylist, Photographer David Meredith

Rebecca Purcell Stylist, Photographer David Meredith

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