Staff Show 2018: Racquel Keller

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2018 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 30, 2018.

Artwork by Racquel Keller

I saw a dead bird flying through a broken sky by Racquel Keller

Tell us about yourself.

Bio – Racquel Keller creates painting, drawing, print, photography, sculpture and assemblage art. She constructs imagery inspired by the natural world and her collection of vintage objects, with an eye toward capturing the feeling of nostalgia they evoke. Racquel was born in Northern Virginia and has resided in Maryland since 2003. She earned her BS in Graphic Design, with a concentration in Fine Arts, from The American University and also holds a Certificate of Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. Presently, she works as an Art Instructor and Artist. She is currently an instructor at the Greenbelt Community Center, the College Park Arts Exchange and for select art workshops at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Her classes have included, among others, Plein Air Painting, Still Life Painting and Watercolor. She regularly offers workshops on a variety of mediums and subjects. She has been actively exhibiting her work in the DC Metropolitan area for decades and is a current Artist in Residence at The Greenbelt Community Center (Maryland, USA) and will be a visiting Artist in Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux (Orquevaux, France) Fall of 2018.

Artist Statement – The aim of my work is to create an emotional resonance for the viewer through the exploration of nostalgia and what it means to us as humans. Through my painting, I work to explore the relationship between people, objects and the power of memories to transport us to a different time and place. Ultimately, it is an exploration of why people save certain things and perhaps more significantly, an exploration of why I save things. ​My work is grounded in my vast collection of natural and vintage household objects gathered over more than four decades. These objects are at once familiar and mysterious, containing stories we may never know. I paint in vibrant tones and often with a strong raking light. With carefully crafted composition and light, my paintings honor still life painting while simultaneously honoring abstract painting via an active abstracted background. While my still lifes are unmistakably modern, I paint everyday objects of daily life from a bygone era, striving to give them a deeper significance by creating a portrait which forces the viewer to see an object which they might otherwise overlook. The strength of my palette, light, and brushstroke are vital to a fuller understanding of my work.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I am one of the Museum Shop Supervisors. I think one of the interesting things people may not know about the museum shop is that it is a sensitively curated visitor experience which is designed to further connect the individual with the exhibition on display. Everything which Pete Bernal, our Museum Shop Manager, selects for the shop is carefully considered months in advance and then thoughtfully displayed in themed vignettes which make it more accessible to the visitor.

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

I love Chaim Soutine for the vitality of his brush strokes and I love Sally Mann for the quiet dark mystery of her photographs. Both evoke emotion in totally different styles and mediums.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

The music room. I love the early 1900s architectural details especially when juxtaposed with modern art like Alex Katz. The contrast is striking!

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2018 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

The aim of my work is to create an emotional resonance for the viewer through the exploration of nostalgia and what it means to us as humans. Through my painting, I work to explore the relationship between people, objects and the power of memories to transport us to a different time and place. The work reflects on memory, mortality and the cycle of life.

This Is My Day Job: The James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through September 30, 2018. Join us for a reception in the exhibition on September 20, 5-7 pm.

Staff Show 2018: Kathryn Rogge

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2018 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 30, 2018.

Artwork by Kathryn Rogge

Citadel by Kathryn Rogge

Tell us about yourself.

After college, I stopped painting for 10 years. I began when I developed a neurological tremor, which required me to relearn how to use my hands. I became curious how unsteady hands would affect my painting and have enjoyed experimenting ever since.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I am Manager of Academic Programs and Diversity Initiatives. In my four years at The Phillips Collection, I’ve worked in five departments (so far). Working with our bright and diverse interns is my favorite part of my work at the UMD Center for Art and Knowledge at the Phillips.

Photo of Kathryn Rogge

Kathryn Rogge

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

That’s hard, I love so many! Franz Marc, Linn Meyers, Karl Knaths… too many to count.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

See above 🙂

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2018 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

Due to a motor tremor in my dominant hand, I have learned to paint using toothbrushes instead of paintbrushes— something about the bristles on the side rather than the end makes them easier for me to hold. Also, my dad is a dentist, so I have easy access to toothbrushes when I need more.

This Is My Day Job: The James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through September 30, 2018. Join us for a reception in the exhibition on September 20, 5-7 pm.

Staff Show 2018: Jordan Ingram

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in This Is My Day Job: The 2018 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 30, 2018.

Artwork by Jordan Ingram

Ceasing/Seeking by Jordan Ingram

Tell us about yourself.

Coming from a lifelong love of fantastical stories and music, I share intimate internal narratives in my work, often through the use of whimsical surrealism, abstraction, and sound. I graduated from the George Mason University School of Art in 2017 with a BFA in Art and Visual Technology, concentrating in painting. My work often addresses emotional commonalities, aiming to give viewers the freedom to relate the work to their own experiences, and the ability to consider and relate to that which may be outside of their experience.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I am a museum assistant and an admissions associate, which means I get to guard the art, answer visitor questions, sell tickets, and overall do my best to serve as a “face” of The Phillips Collection. Whether I am working in security or at the front desk, I want to provide visitors with a positive experience and show them all the wonderful things that the Phillips has to offer.

Photo of Jordan Ingram

Jordan Ingram

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Arthur Dove, Frances Bacon, John Henry Twachtman, Jacob Lawrence, Renee Stout, and the list goes on.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

Anywhere in the House, especially the foyer and the Music Room.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2018 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

In my paintings, I have always been interested in finding ways to straddle the line between precision and fluidity, and I continued working with this idea in my piece Ceasing/Seeking. However, I commonly find myself veering back over to precision in my work, so in the case of this painting, I chose to focus on turning its originally precise linework into something fluid and a little more care-free. I was ceasing to confine myself to precision, and seeking to free myself up and exercise different methods and techniques for my painting. Therefore, I am Ceasing/Seeking.

This Is My Day Job: The James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through September 30, 2018. Join us for a reception in the exhibition on September 20, 5-7 pm.