Emily Rake graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) with her BFA in Painting with an Emphasis in Sculpture and Expanded Media and a Concentration in Creative Writing.
She is currently living in Jeonju, South Korea. She has been working with Leah Yochman. They have shown in Cleveland, Ohio and Seoul, South Korea together. When the subjects of their work does not overlap, they work independently. When Rake works independently, she uses her experience as a woman and what she has witnessed from the women around her to create an intersectional feminist fictional story with her work.
My work is an ironic narrative that enacts my fantasy of being a grandmother. In this fantasy, I become a grandmother. My daughter disappears. I die right before my granddaughter needs me most, during her transition to her teen years. In anticipation for grandmotherhood, I am preparing tools that my granddaughter can use to take down the patriarchy.
As a grandmother, I am now wise but also have diminishing mental health. The paralleling transitions of my characters are important. The grandmother must transition into death symbolizing the death of the old perception of women. The granddaughter transitions into a teenager for the reason of bringing her, the future perception of women, into power. The transitions they are experiencing are making them more important in their world, much as these transitions are perceived as elevating a person’s worth in reality. The tools that can only be received by achieving this age emphasize this importance that is placed on this age group for girls.
The installations and videos employ a child’s approach to making, using children’s craft materials. It is bright, colorful, and sparkly. It is also garish, wrinkly and unstable. On the surface, things are innocent and playful. Upon taking a closer look there are darker elements, this is where the irony comes from. My work is campy, being blatantly ironic in order to initiate serious analysis of the cheesy clichés associated with a person because that person happens to be a woman.
Through the tools for my future-granddaughter, I am addressing the interminable cycle of the female role and the way we are inculcated into these roles. This cycle is addressed through the family I create, as the women inherit each other’s objects and roles. I want to confront the hegemony that maintains the cheesy clichés dumped upon us in everyday life. The purpose of the logically absurd story that my work originates from is to translate the journey of womanhood that has been presented to me.
Paralleling love and sex in my work has acted as a way for me to translate the sarcastic nature of the work I am making. I want my audience to walk away from my work thinking about how women are considered in our culture more critically. How sexually active a woman is has become the most important thing about her in contemporary society. The work challenges the insidious belittling of an entire sex of people and invites the viewer to consider more critically the individuals addressed.