RACHAEL DOCHERTY is about to embark upon joining 2nd year Sculpture and Environmental art at Glasgow School of Art. She has proclivity towards wood and natural materials in her practice with work playing strongly on the idea of conceptual minimalism. Using building mediums for aesthetic, Docherty creates ambience through site specific pieces which cause interaction on a physical and emotional level with the viewer.
There are more female artists/designers than male in the exhibition - do you consider this an important statistic?
No, I don't really believe in gender. Gender is just another constraint that society enforces on us to ensure people conform. I don't think me being female makes my work intrinsically different from that of a man so it doesn't matter in my opinion.
How do you think your minimal style will work alongside the exhibition's mix of fine art and design pieces from a range of backgrounds?
Well I can't be entirely sure how the work is going to look side by side. We all have very different styles which could very possibly clash. However, I think the shared theme and where we chose to display the work could help combat this. My work does tend to be quite minimal and I'm hoping it doesn't get lost among the louder pieces. We'll just have to wait and see.
In the past your minimal style has highlighted traditional and natural materials, some would say speaking louder than more modern material based works due to its strong sense of form. Why do you choose to work this way, is there a particular influence which encouraged this?
Well I'm really interested in structures and boxes. Always the boxes. I've been trying to work out why. I think maybe because they're so obvious. They're like an original form, stripped back and so completely man made but they're so common that they appear almost natural. This interest in structural forms obviously influences the materials I use. If you want to construct something structurally sound you need to use materials that will hold their shape. This is why I tend to use less malleable materials, like wood or metal.
Would you say that your work is based around the theme of form rather than exploring a personal experience or idea in the style of perhaps, Richard Deacon? Or do your structural explorations look into structure in society/your own life?
Certainly, form is very important in my work but there's always more to it than that although I wouldn't say it's about purely personal experience. Possibly personal opinions that aren't completely formed. I think that saying I'm concerned with structure in society is accurate. And of course, society has an impact on my life which causes my work to be personal to some extent.
Can you share some of what ideas/topics you are exploring for Paradise?
I've been thinking about the idea of "paradise" and the thing that comes to mind for me is the impossibility of it. Society can't ever function well enough to create a paradise. I suppose the only paradise that could ever exist is one excluding the human race. It seems to me that in a utopia everyone would be happy and contented with their existence. This is impossible of course as; in our world one person's happiness relies on another's misery. I guess that's just the way humanity functions. I watched a documentary a few months back called "The Galapagos Affair: Satan came to Eden" which made me think in this line of thought. The documentary is about a few individuals who traveled to one of the Galapagos Islands in the 1930s, which was unpopulated at that time. They went there in search of a "paradise" and to escape general society. Of course, the venture ended badly, for some more than others. So this is all feeding into my work for the exhibition. I'm looking at the futility of the idea but also the hope that drives people to continue striving for perfection.
Learn more about Rachael Docherty by following the link to her page and visiting her social media outlets. You can also continue to keep up to date with the exhibition by following our instagram @paradise_exhibition and the blog
Article by Emma Hislop