Rachel DuVall is a textile artist whose hand-woven works combine a geometric minimalism and reserved palette akin to paintings by abstractionists like Agnes Martin and Josef Albers with the organic textures of her fiber-based process and materials. Her relationship to the gridded armature and the kinks of repetition relate to gesture, surface and mark-making as well as to industry, architecture and tradition in a mode typically associated with hard-edge painters. At the same time, DuVall straddles craft-based aesthetic and material categories in the manner of the Bauhaus artists whose work DuVall’s further invokes.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
RACHEL DUVALL: I was always interested in drawing and crafting growing up, when I was young I was even in sewing 4H. And now as a textile artist that seems kind of prophetic.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
I make primarily woven works, abstract, made of linen and natural dyes. They are about the tension between the geometry of the grid and the hand nature of textiles and natural dyes.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
If I wasn’t an artist I would be working in textiles in some way.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I went to art school at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore with a BFA in Fiber Arts.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I am originally from outside of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, but I ended up out in Los Angeles when my husband who is also an artist went to grad school at CalArts and we fell in love with California. It’s been great for my studio practice as well since I do a lot of fiber dyeing outside all year long.
When was your first show?
I suppose my first show was sometime in school, but my first solo show was here in L.A. at the Main Museum in 2017 which was such a great experience.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
I have a show coming up in May at Dobrinka Salzman Gallery in New York called Off the Grid.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
That’s such a hard question! One artist that I would love to show my work with would be Agnes Martin, I think her painting relates so much to the weaving process and her own exploration of the grid.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
I’ve been listening to Harry Nilsson a lot lately at the studio.
Website and social media handles, please!