Raleigh Gardiner


Raleigh Gardiner is a practicing visual artist and educator, currently living in Bahama, North Carolina. She earned her BFA from Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and her MFA from Washington University in Saint Louis. Gardiner's work incorporates images from nature, mythology, and "dream logic" to explore the psychological spaces between our perceptions of reality and our subconscious. Her practice includes painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, ceramics and sculpture, and she actively utilizes many different techniques and processes to arrive at a finished piece. Gardiner has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, and has a suite of science exhibits on permanent display at the Saint Louis Science Center. Gardiner is an enthusiastic educator and works to develop a love of art and craft in her students. Her teaching style balances formal, technical art instruction with exercises in creative play, experimentation and the development of a personal voice. She feels that all successful artwork, no matter what the medium, stems from a fundamental foundation in drawing. 

My work explores the moments when ones experience of reality is altered by the imposition of fantasy. In these moments – moments of fear, of desire, of curiosity, of trauma – fantasy sweeps over our consciousness and helps us make sense of experiences we don’t fully understand. But this fantastical imposition is quite revealing; it allows us a brief moment to observe the often obscured connections that exist between “Self” and “Other”, human and animal, man and pre-history.  By exploring these moments in my artwork, I’m attempting to gain deeper access to and understanding of the “lexicon” of the subconscious realm.
While my work is often very personal, I also tend to explore archetypal or universal images of human subconscious. My creative practice is significantly informed by psychoanalysis, western mythology, and the scientific investigation of the natural world. 
My current series (“Transmission” series), presents an abstraction of communication; this work attempts to illustrate the various methods of communication, both active and passive, which influence the ways we, as humans, relate to one another and to our internal selves. I am particularly interested in visualizing the chemical (and thus sexual) exchange between subjects as a way to explore the dynamics of sexual difference. While these works are rooted in concept, they are also distinctly formal pieces, exploring materiality and the interaction of color. I create these mixed-media drawings using cut paper as a starting point, and weave the shapes together through added texture and line. There are currently 12 drawings in the Transmission Series; as this series is currently in progress, I foresee this series amounting to a least 20 drawings.
Supplemental to the Transmission series, is a concurrent “Mask” series; these smaller works are more concerned with formal, visual issues, and exhibit a more “physical” presence, containing mixed-media elements that real their processes. Conceptually, these works touch on the idea of the Mask, as it relates to Lacanian psychoanalysis – the Mask being an obvious facsimile (like an advertisement) of the outward identity one wishes to project.