Self-Perception Through Glitz by Rachael Tarravechia

Rachael Tarravechia, courtesy of artist.

At the Ceysson & Bénétière gallery in New York, the exhibition “Water on Velvet” by artist Rachael Tarravechia offers an exploration of self-perception and societal expectations through a blend of both digital landscapes and private spaces. The Brooklyn-based artist is well known for her captivating paintings of interiors along with her aim to capture intimate moments through her bedazzled canvases.

In this latest body of work, Tarravechia drew inspiration from virtual tours of homes located in the Southwest. As she remotely journeyed through spaces, Tarravechia was confronted with past struggles of body image and self-worth, particularly in scenes within bathrooms. For years, depictions of bathrooms had been a mainstay of Tarravechia’s studio practice.

Instead of offering a place of cleanliness and self-care, they were a reminder of the constant battle against unattainable standards of beauty and perfection. The exhibition press release explains that “after years of intentionally restricting her eating and constantly body checking herself in bathroom mirrors, these spaces, which should prioritize hygiene and self-care, have become tainted with malice and discomfort.”

Through each canvas, Tarravechia brings these emotions of struggling with imperfections to life while also capturing her own complex relationships with femininity, pleasure, and fantasy. Her featured pieces such as “Snuff”and “Terminal Horror” use mediums like glitter, glass beads and rhinestones to not only appear glamorous but cover up the realities that are the sterile environments in the paintings. In doing this, Tarravechia questions in what ways women are pressured to cover up and sterilize themselves beyond the bathroom. “Water on Velvet'' also incorporates unique paintings of weapons into the exhibition such as “Gunblade” and “Italian Mobstar.”

In an effort to help viewers rediscover beauty in imperfections, Tarravechia’s work is a reminder of the importance of embracing flaws and reclaiming identities. “Water on Velvet” is now on view through June 14, 2024.

Exhibition view Rachael Tarravechia "Water on Velvet" Ceysson & Bénétière, New York, 2024. Photo by Adam Reich. Courtesy the gallery.