rebecca purcell

World Maker

projects

Tiny Conceits

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This is a series of retail pieces I called “Tiny Conceits,” inspired by 18th century, miniature portraits. I felt the title “Tiny Conceit” expressed both the idea of self adoration as well as alluding to perhaps a thinly veiled expose of some royal debacle — a little performance that is an exaggeration.

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Interior Alchemy

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1995-1998

All images Gross and Daly

Interior Alchemy was published in 1998, and featured seven spaces that uniquely brought the past into the present. I think the book was a little before the curve on this aesthetic — it was another ten years before it attracted any attention — but it was a satisfying experience and it helped jump-start my career in styling, so nothing really to fuss over. I had several objectives for the book: imbed an aspect of my art practice by featuring nine esoterically defined interior styles; champion the idea that style was not dependant on finances and “taste” in a classical sense; showcase some incredible spaces featuring a Past-Present aesthetic; and highlight the word “hoosh.” 

Rebecca Purcell Art director and Stylist,   Photographer Gross and Daley

Rebecca Purcell Art director and Stylist, Photographer Gross and Daley

I managed all of this except for the art practice aspect, it was considered a bit too esoteric by the publisher, although the idea of highly disparate styles still came through.

Rebecca Purcell Art director and Stylist,   Photographer Gross and Daley

Rebecca Purcell Art director and Stylist, Photographer Gross and Daley

Another objective was to work with Sue Gross and Steve Daly. Old Houses had recently been published and it was a book I found revelatory.

Photographer Gross and Daley

Photographer Gross and Daley

I had been working with Paulette Cole at A.B.C. for several years, exploring the Past-Present realm of patina and weather but at the time Old Houses appeared, I had never seen an entire interiors book devoted to the ravages of time, and the exquisite complex layering that only neglect and weather can create. 

Photographer Gross and Daley

Photographer Gross and Daley

The past revisited in the present has always been evident in home décor, but it was the visual inclusion of its deconstruction that was not only ground breaking but also psychologically left of field. One just didn’t shoot an historical interiors book that featured homes that were a mess, let alone falling apart with dirt, dust and debris gathered in the corners! 

Old Houses was the first — that I had seen anyway — to document this intersection of nature and a domestic setting, a declining that was simultaneously emerging as something “other.” 

Photographer Gross and Daley

Photographer Gross and Daley

So it was the brave and cutting edge duo of “Steve and Sue” I wanted to shoot the images for my book as I planned on highlighting a few messes of my own. To my utter joy and amazement they agreed.

Rebecca Purcell Archive - Photographer Gross and Daley

Rebecca Purcell Archive - Photographer Gross and Daley

I am so grateful we had the opportunity to document the spaces in Interior Alchemy as most no longer exist. The remarkable Tribeca loft of J. Morgan Puett and Mark Dion (Expedition chapter) was dismantled shortly after publication, but not before they hosted a private martini auction with only three bidders allowed: Mark, Bob Braine and Alexis Rockman. As the guests became increasingly inebriated and vociferous, the three participants parceled out a large collection of taxidermy birds… a night to remember for the eccentric rarity of the event as well as a vodka fueled battle over a stuffed puffin that almost turned violent – no doubt the first battle of its kind. 

Rebecca Purcell Archive - Photographer Gross and Daley

Rebecca Purcell Archive - Photographer Gross and Daley

Jeffrey Jenkins home (Simple) has been thoroughly overrun by his mounting collections (and my increasing infiltration – I live with him).

Rebecca Purcell Stylist - Photographer Gross and Daley

Rebecca Purcell Stylist - Photographer Gross and Daley

The dense, oriental-gothic apartment (Exotic), of my brother and sister William Bryan and Mary, has morphed several times since these images were taken and now is a far more quiet, albeit toy-ridden home, to Mary and my niece Cira. 

My own apartment (Alienated) has turned into what I refer to as “Hotel de Lyon” — hybrid, disheveled French via the American flea. 

And the afternoon folly Morgan and I created from a chicken coop for “Humble“ appropriately drifted away with the wind and weather.

Rebecca Purcell/J. Morgan Puett Stylist - Photographer Gross and Daley

Rebecca Purcell/J. Morgan Puett Stylist - Photographer Gross and Daley

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Lauren Minoogian

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The Minoogian Portraits were interwoven with Organon 9 Worlds, an elaborate nine-part matrix that attempts to coalesce specific, aesthetic styles into a series of phases in creative production.

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Labour Portraits at Mildred's Lane

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Jaquel Theis: Land Steward;  Jeffrey Jenkins Photographer

Jaquel Theis: Land Steward; Jeffrey Jenkins Photographer

I had the honor and privilege of being involved in the art direction and styling of a series of 12 labor portraits in collaboration with J. Morgan Puett, Jeffrey Jenkins, Natalie Wilkin, and an incredible group of resident fellows and participants who made invaluable contributions both physically and conceptually.

Elizabeth Crawford & Isobel Lister: Ministry of Comfort;   Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Elizabeth Crawford & Isobel Lister: Ministry of Comfort; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

The portraits reflected the various labor practices employed at Mildred's Lane referred to as "Workstyles." 

Grey Rabbit Puett: Fire Master;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Grey Rabbit Puett: Fire Master; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Cheryl Edwards: Digestion Choreographer;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Cheryl Edwards: Digestion Choreographer; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Paul Bartow: Master of Applied Complexity;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Paul Bartow: Master of Applied Complexity; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Rebecca Purcell: Master Hooshress;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Rebecca Purcell: Master Hooshress; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Each portrait depicted a specific titled practice and included: materials indigenous to Morgan Puett history and Mildred's Lane; a changeable architecture loosely influenced by Crivelli Paintings; elements of 18th C. labor portraits; props reflecting the "workstyle;" and aspects of the sitter's personality.

J. Morgan Puett: Ambassador of Entanglements;  Jeffrey Jenkins Photographer

J. Morgan Puett: Ambassador of Entanglements; Jeffrey Jenkins Photographer

The women's outfits — "Apparatuses" —were designed by J. Morgan Puett and constructed in sections that button together to create a variety of garments. 

Jeffrey Jenkins: Minister of Serial Materialism;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Jeffrey Jenkins: Minister of Serial Materialism; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Natalie Wilkin: Ambassador of Trans Historical Agency;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Natalie Wilkin: Ambassador of Trans Historical Agency; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Mark Dion: Cabinet Minister Peregrinator;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Mark Dion: Cabinet Minister Peregrinator; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Clayton Lewis: Officer of Complexity;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Clayton Lewis: Officer of Complexity; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Interstitchiaries;  Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

Interstitchiaries; Photographer Jeffrey Jenkins

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First Test of Head Apparatus for Portrait Project

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Several years in concept - I finally started work on a collection of head pieces for my portrait project.

They are reversible; neutrals on one side, black pallet on the other.

For this first trial run I began with a variety of library embellishments in keeping with the #11 persona from Organon 9 Worlds.

Creating a headpiece that combines Victoreana, Geisha, and Italian folk costume. 

And an outfit I cobbled together in 20 minutes...

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Rent Dress Collaboration

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Recent collaboration with J. Morgan Puett and the Mildred's Lane Complexity

After digging around in morgan's archive, we came across a vintage slip that struck both Morgan and I as being unusually appealing.

Morgan worked on having the body of the slip reinvented, using antique cotton organdy, while I assembled bodices, using one of a kind lace and crochet appliques, from my library of gathered materials.

Final four dresses available on Morgan's site

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First Overhead Hoosh

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I finally started styling my own images! (Final image at end of post)

Last month Jeffrey and I set up a cramped studio in our living room, between the daybed and the coffee table. I pulled a large selection of items from my object library and spent the day placing and arranging.

The image is a test run, a combination of the opening sequence from "

To Kill a Mockingbird"

and John Derian.

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Second Overhead Hoosh

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Second attempt at personal home hooshing.

Testing out ideas for section openers, a frontispiece, possibly for inclusion with my card deck, or maybe just another way to create a hoosh.

I refer to this as a Rorschach style hoosh

This particular style of arranging is so close to a game I played as a child called "Dudes" that I felt myself regressing in age as I assembled the pieces. My hands felt as if they were child hands.

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