Together is the name of the exhibition and togetherness is the idea. Occupying Archive Space are 7 gigantic stands of clear plastic. Draped over these stands, like Spanish moss over a tree is finely interlaced and woven toilet paper. This is stained with degrees of Chinese ink ranging from pitch black to barely noticeable. I approached the task of reading the work with a very dry idea of how togetherness is communicated: I was tempted to speak mainly of the idea of drawing being an interaction between a background and a mark (as opposed to painting which is an accumulated interaction between many marks and with traditionally no canvas in interaction with it). Drawing is about togetherness in materials. But Rachel is not the type of person to make such dry abstract work. So what I did was get to know Rachel.
Slowly I get to know more about her and I realise I’m subject to a privileged reading of the work: suddenly the work takes on a semi- biographical reading.
When I first met Rachel she was disarmingly friendly. She talked freely and openly and had a compassionate attitude to those around her. We chatted briefly about her early years in a small town in South Korea where she would help her Grandmother at work. They would sell fish to the local community. We talked of her move to Australia in her teens and the transition this would have been. In fact most of the conversation was of her relations, how they sustain her and others. Our conversations usually came to an end when she had to take a phone call from a friend.
Rachel’s work, in my mind, is both a model and a mapping. It is a mapping of her life and the importance of relations to a wider community. Most importantly it is a model of how society could be: interdependent, with a common support. The work doesn’t just state the condition of Togetherness, it implores the viewer to think about and engage in togetherness. The set-up was an environment more-so than a series of sculptures and as an environment it was conducive to introductions and conversation.
Rachel Park’s Together contains two elements: One is an element that art cannot escape, the self. The other element is one that motivates most artists and is capable of elevating art: the ideal.
-by David Greenhalgh