Over the past decade, Rachel Foullon (b. 1978 Glendale, California) has created a body of work that accesses a collective memory existing within the United States – its history of pioneering farmsteads and the psychological and emotional drives that powered that early westward expansion: the perpetual quest for independence, adventure, prosperity, and property ownership. Like the early settlers, contemporary artists are driven to transform the material world via their relationship to labour and productive work patterns, and it is this dynamic that potentiates Foullon’s practice.
For Launch Pad, Foullon has chosen to shift her historical reference point to the Victorian heritage of the local neighbourhood, with Choker, a 9 1/2′ high painted steel and fabric bow. Drawing on her interest in clothing, and the collar in particular as an expressive signifier of the self, the black velvet bow is presented as both fashion accessory and symbol of the strictness and austerity of its time. Its heroic scale makes a monument of the object, giving a timeless dimension to an item with a particular history and resonance in the collective English memory.
An In-Conversation with the Artist and Valeria Napoleone, Collector and Patron moderated by Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery, London took place on 10th October, 2014.