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Rachel Kaiser unveils her latest exhibit tonight at Portal Gallery

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Great Falls artist Rachel Kaiser has never been one to put herself in a box.

In fact, Kaiser shows her diversity as an artist starting tonight with the unveiling of her latest exhibit titled “Macro/Micro: Paintings and Assemblages by Rachel Kaiser .” It’s an exhibit in which she showcases pieces on a variety of mediums, from welding art on metal to glass pieces, ceramic, wood and fabric.

The opening reception runs until 9 p.m. tonight. The art will be on display through December at the gallery, located at 314 Central Ave.

Kaiser said she feels these pieces are unique in that it’s entirely her studio work, which Kaiser said in an interview with Big Sky State Buzz ends up being much different than murals or other commissioned pieces.

“It’s focused on a lot of small things in life I’ve collected throughout my travels in the past 20 years, and there’s a lot of drawings and of course a lot of color involved,” Kaiser said. “I guess you could look at it as a cross between Joseph Cornell and Mark Rothko with a lot of color and blending. You really just have to see them, though, it’s kind of hard to explain.”

She said many of the drawings which started the works are non-objective in that they don’t have a person/place or thing as the subject but instead are much more abstract.

Getting a Clue
Rachel Kaiser’s piece “Getting a Clue.” Kaiser will have work on display at the Portal Gallery through December.

Kaiser said people have described this type of work of hers in the past as folk art or outside art. She said she doesn’t see it that way, but said she looks at it as simply something she’s put her “heart and soul” into and that she can’t control how others view it.
“ I really love non-objective work and I really enjoy using minimalistic things in my own pieces,” she said. “It’s like taking the horizon lines and simplifying them and putting them into little pieces.”

Kaiser said the show will be on display through December at the Portal Gallery. She said she’s been planning this show for little over a year and that she’s excited to have her work at the Portal as it’s one of Great Falls’ only contemporary galleries.

Over the years, Kaiser has received several national and local commissions including a 4-foot hand carved wood relief called “The Spirit of Healing” in the surgery wing of St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu.

Her diverse background and emphasis on studying the spiritual nature of art is evident in her works, which include paintings, woodcarvings, drawings, shrines, as well as public murals and custom-made ceramic tile. While working toward a bachelor of fine arts degree at the Viterbo University in LaCross, Wis., Kaiser also studied wooden mask carving and dancing in Bali, Indonesia

In 2001, Kaiser was a co-founder of On The River, a multi-media art gallery, and predecessor to the prominent Ong King ArtsCenter in Honolulu, featured in “Juxtapoz” magazine. “Juxtapoz” gave Kaiser and her partner, Jonathan Heraux, credit for being the visionaries that started the underground art movement in downtown Honolulu.

For more information, check out the Portal Gallery’s Facebook Page here.

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