Rachel Epp Buller
is a feminist art historian, a print maker and a mother of three. Her series "The Identity Series"
are a beautiful, intricate series of prints based on the motif of a fingerprint. Fingerprints figure very largely in the life of a mother- finger prints on the walls, on the windows and on mirrors become a part of our visual landscape. If you were to look at our bodies with forensic dust under black light we would probably be covered with the imprints of our children. I read somewhere that a small amount of our children's cells remain with us long after they're born and have grown. We're forever imprinted.
This series calls to light the identity of a mother as it's combined with and altered by the personalities of her children. It's a complex portrait of what it means to be a mother- the occasional loss of self, but the gain of a bright new and complex self in relation to our children.
Twist, in 3 Parts, 2009
"The Identity Series marks the changes, overlaps, and transformations of identity that occur in the life of the family. Initially conceived as a grouping of representational portraits, the series later morphed into an abstracted idea of portraiture, taking as its formal basis one fingerprint of each member of our family. Printed individually, the fingerprints highlight unique genetic qualities; when layered, they can speak to the temporary masking of identity that occurs in the position of motherhood. In hand-stitched print blankets, issues of genetic difference overlap, literally and metaphorically, with larger implications of family position—individuality alongside and within familial identity. The most recent print “quilts” combine the fingerprints with fragments of the representational portraits, further playing on issues of identity and likeness. These visual memoirs of motherhood use traditional patchwork quilting patterns to draw on a lengthy history of women’s artistic creativity and on my own Mennonite cultural heritage." -Rachel Epp Buller
Youngest Four- Patch, 2009
Buller references her own Mennonite background by using familiar quilt patterns to combine the elements of finger prints and portraits. The quilt aesthetic draws us in to the comfort of the familiar, and makes reference to family and home. Within the pattern we also see objects, outlines and forms- portraits of individuals mixed together. I feel that the fingerprint outlines make some allusion to science and DNA while the quilt pattern speaks more of tradition. I love the idea of a portrait combining different elements of one's family. I feel it's true that we are all a pattern involving those who matter to us, and who influence our lives.
Firstborn Shirting Quilt, 2009