Artist Statement -

I walked up the dirt road before leaving the mountains. Fall was creeping in. I thought a car had driven by, but there remained a strange banging and rattling noise. I turned around and listened, yet nobody was there. I looked again; it was just a 25 mile-an-hour sign caught up in a tree. With the winds kicking up, I ran back down the hill.
There were always strange machines in the basement. A Victrola, oil lamps, and car transmissions sat in the dark, collecting dust by the coal furnace. I grew up in a log home on a mountainside in Pennsylvania’s coal regions, where black slag piles were poised to swallow one-street towns: a landmark of the Industrial Revolution’s demise. When I would pass just over the ridge and wander through abandoned factories, I could feel the heavy air inside: damp and laden with an eerie silence.
My childhood existed at the tail end of an era of typewriters and rotary phones: forms of communication that demand a physical connection. These fragmented memories still exist in the tactility of ink embedded into a surface, whether rolled through a press or fed through a typewriter. In 'paperless' times of smaller phones, video, texting, and communication devices nearly connected to the body, presets and automatic corrections make us less aware of our technological extensions. Obsolete, analog devices make this much more visible. I evoke the disembodied voice and hand, along with the confusion of human, landscape and machine. Communication seems severed, but perhaps something can still transmit through the static.

Artist Exhibitions

Selected Exhibitions (*Solo Shows, ** Two or Three-Person Shows)

**Group Exhibition: Amy Doran, Rachel Heberling, Susan Naylor and Tony Kalti, Venue 222, Cincinnati, OH

Kutztown Alumni Print Invitational, Student Gallery, Kutztown University, PA

SOS Art 2012, The Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Sixth Annual Ohio Online Visual Artist Registry Juried Show, Carnegie Gallery, Columbus Metropolitan Main Library, Columbus, OH.

We’re Still Fine, Eckhaus Gallery, Kutztown, PA

Printed Matters, Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery, Columbus, OH

Confluences: 2011 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition, Urban Arts Space, Columbus, OH

**Critical Source, Synthetica-m Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

2010 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, Cox Fine Arts Center, Columbus, OH

**Rachel Heberling and Krista Birnbaum, Roy G Biv Gallery, Columbus, OH,

Shy Rabbit Print National, Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts, Pagosa Springs, CO

Third Annual Master Pieces, An Exhibit of Works by New Masters, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

**Rendered Obsolete, Aisle Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Landscape and Industry, Cohen Gallery, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA, Honorable Mention

*Rendered Obsolete: Remains of Industry, Mya’s Café, Lewisburg, PA.

Drawn to Washington, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Silver Spring, MD

The Printed Image 2, Alice C. Sabatini Gallery, Topeka & Shawnee Co. Public Library, Topeka, KS

Primed, the Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran 2007 Art Auction Gala, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (catalog)

**Arts Club of Washington, Washington, DC

The Boston Printmakers 2007 North American Print Biennial, 808 Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA

25th National Print Exhibition 2006, Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT

181st Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy Museum, New York, NY

Artist Publications

Wednesday, July 22,2009
CityBeat, Cincinnati Ohio Weekly, Arts Section, Critic's Pick
Rendered Obsolete (Review)
Rachel Heberling and Katherine Rogers turn abandoned spaces into beauty at Aisle Gallery
By Laura Leffler

The current exhibition at Aisle Gallery, Rendered Obsolete: Printmaking by Rachel E. Heberling and Katherine Rogers, focuses on the centuries-old practice of printmaking. Of course, the practice has changed and expanded since its inception, but Heberling and Rogers seem to have found their niche in concentrating on straightforward lithography and etching, and the beauty that can be found there. Likewise, both artists draw on aged and abandoned subject matter for their prints, often revealing a sad splendor in the relics of a past era.

Heberling, an MFA candidate at Ohio State University, has a clear focus to her work. According to Aisle’s statement, she concentrates on her natural surroundings. Natural, in this sense, having nothing to do with nature, but with the immediate surroundings of her home — that is, rural Pennsylvania, on the “borders of anthracite mining regions.” Such a focus allows her to examine the “remains of abandoned industry.”

Interesting, then, that the first work a visitor will encounter is “World Champion Typists,” a lithograph with imagery borrowed from an old book (a typing manual, perhaps) with the page number still intact at the bottom. Heberling adds words to the work, making the figures — in a facing-off position — actual competitors. Though not having much to do with anthracite, this imagery has a distinct air of outmoded industry. Coupled with the lithography process itself, the work is strikingly at odds with the year in which it was made: 2009.

“Vacated Presence,” an etching and aquatint with Xerox toner from 2006, deals more directly with Heberling’s concern with abandoned industry. The image is at first simple: A deserted building, complete with broken windows and dark, moody shadows. It is, in some sense, the typical image of semi-urban banality, but Heberling takes the image in a different direction. The vantage point is odd, like you’re looking up at this building as you would a grand cathedral. The shadows and stains pour across the faade, allowing an amazingly accurate sense of the cracking paint, the crumbling walls, the weather-beaten exterior.

Another of Heberling’s works, “Auto-Graph,” is perhaps the oddest and most interesting in Rendered Obsolete. Here the artist has created a common, anonymous cityscape except that everything seems at a standstill. A car is parked in the middle of the road, ostensibly abandoned. A lone figure outfitted in some sort of outmoded/futuristic diving gear stands in the center of the print, as if about to set out on an exploration of this vacant, dead place. The image is curious and provoking, and you might not know where you are here — on the side of the defunct city or of the futuristic explorer.

Rogers, a printmaker based in Mertztown, Pa., also casts her eye to abandonment. Her etching and drypoint print, “Opened,” is one of the most obvious examples of her inclination. The work shows a car, clearly broken down, used-up and discarded in an auto graveyard; its hood is up, exposed for looting or probing. The image is profoundly sad and unsettling, calling to mind a crime scene. Something once new is now dead, robbed, raped, worn-out.

Other prints by Rogers are less obvious, taking the mechanical workings of industry and factories almost to an abstraction. Broken pipes, crumbling walls, bits of machinery all build up the surfaces of almost all of her works.

Printmaking has gone post-modern and beyond in the contemporary art world. A time-consuming, delicate and intricate practice has morphed into the often-outrageous, stacked-upon, punched-out, layered, cut and twisted forms we see in a lot of contemporary galleries. It’s amazing what those artists can do.

But there is something to be said about Heberling and Rogers finding their way back through time, into the era when printmaking was just that — delicate, fastidious, detailed and beautiful.

RENDERED OBSOLETE is on view at Aisle Gallery through July 31. Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here....

Artist Collections

Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, The Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus, OH

Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, PA

Artist Favorites