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Burst by Rachel Comminos

May 3rd - June 22nd

Rachel Comminos (B. 1990, Illinois) is a multidisciplinary artist currently focusing in textiles, living and working out of the Rio Grande Valley. She is the co-owner and co-director of Comminos Studio and the Comminos Center for the Arts in downtown Harlingen, Texas. Rachel is interested in expressing herself using the traditional ties to femininity through materiality, working with yarn in both industrial and intimate ways in her practice of tufting, weaving, embroidery, punch needling, and beading.

Before moving to the Valley, Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from the University of Texas at San Antonio and spent time living downtown in the arts district. She then moved to South Texas and began to seriously explore the fiber arts as a medium when she was pregnant with her son in 2017. In 2019, Rachel began using tufting as a way of self-expression after creating a body of work using the much slower moving punch needle. Organically painting with yarn, transforming ideas and emotions into physical objects provides comfort within her day-to-day chaos of being mother to a young son. Themes and narratives of internal struggles, feminism, bodily autonomy, memories, humor, culture, personal interactions, and experiences are abstracted through Rachel’s use of shape, color, and texture. Comminos’ work can be found both in private and public collections, such as Texas National Bank, and she has exhibited throughout the state of Texas and beyond.

Artist's Statement:

My practice as a one-person tufted rug production factory involves transforming my challenging feelings (and a lot of work) into soft, lovable pieces of art. When I lost my estranged father in September of 2021, his passing tossed me into a period of intense self-reflection, instantly exposing a more vulnerable version of myself. The first piece I made after his death was the large, tufted burst, “Portal to Anywhere.” A symbol to transport myself to anywhere but this strange new place, trying to get my mind off the emotional, weeping open wound that death brings. Since that creation, I have tufted and made more bursts that represent portals, blooms, open-wounds, and healing. My healing process sometimes feels like I’m bursting with life, like a fresh bloom from my garden, bursting in my own; feelings of blooming into a new version of myself. My art practice allows for an escape from the everyday stresses that come with my depression and anxiety, alongside the stresses of day-to-day life of being a mom.

I translate my deep dives of self-exploration into beauty, repetition, pattern, and texture by creating these physical, tufted objects. Each of my pieces encapsulates a moment of time and a mindset; an experience abstracted with yarn, needles, and a variety of scissors over a prolonged period of time. In these abstractions, I open a wider narrative and invite my audience to relate to the familiar found within. Yarn choices your mother could have made, patterns or colors found in your favorite sweater from another decade, or maybe your grandmother’s needlework. The warmth and comfort of the materials themselves connects us to these profound moments, memories, and experiences in our lives. My current art practice connects me to my familial penchant for crafting, a now instinctual skill developed after a lifetime of making. During my artistic process is when I am able to communicate and dwell within myself. In showing these works, I am communicating, displaying, sharing pieces of me. There is no disconnect between myself and my work – I’m right here, bursting and blooming.

Exhibition Gallery

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