Rachael Nee studied Ceramics at Bristol Polytechnic, graduating in 1987. She has shown regularly at the RWA Autumn exhibition since 2003, winning the Viewers’ Choice prize in 2004. She was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2005 and exhibits regularly nationally and internationally. Rachael was elected an Academician in 2007.
I use the sooty carbon trace left from a candle flame to make smoke drawings. To me this ephemeral material expresses the passage of time, memory, absence and our fragile and transient nature. My recent works have taken a look at the sooty material itself, the element of carbon, often called 'the backbone of life'. This was the starting point for a series of works called 'Carbon Based Forms'. The geometric designs are drawn from the crease patterns that remain from unfolded origami. I saw a parallel between carbon and origami, in both complexity of life or form comes from the simplicity of a small building block, an atom or a fold, repeated and evolving to create a vast number of different objects. A background in ceramics is no doubt the reason why I'm drawn to using fire as a creative tool. I work with and enjoy the element of risk; total concentration is needed to make the drawings. Fire creates an irreversible transformation, there is no going back; images cannot be unburned. But as you can imagine, as in life, much does go up in smoke.