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RACHEL BIVANS

Rachel Bivans' art is a testament to a life lived in vibrant hues and tactile experiences. From her early days on the military base of Fort Eustis, Virginia, Rachel's artistic talents were nurtured and encouraged under the watchful eyes of her family. Drawing, mainly portraits, became her language of expression, with her first notable award being a second-place win in an elementary school drawing competition. Her early artistic endeavors were not confined to paper; her childhood was marked by drawings on stairwells, sidewalks, bus stops, and even murals on her high school and college walls, reflecting her restless creativity and the expanding scope of her public artwork. Embracing Tactility and Inclusivity in Art

Seasons and More Time | Acrylic and Ink | 30" x 40"
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About The Artist: Welcome

Raised in a family with a strong military background, Rachel's art often intertwines with themes of history and patriotism. Her passion for art was further fostered by her family's profession in textiles, yet her artistic repertoire extends far beyond, encompassing ceramics, stained glass, and fibers. Influenced by her roots in Appalachia, her work echoes the region's rich history, cultures, and storytelling, resonating with deep generational connections from Virginia to the Ozarks and beyond. Rachel’s educational journey in the arts is a narrative enriched by mentorship and apprenticeship. Guided by mentors such as Jeff Johnston in ceramics, Anne Allman in stained glass, and Janelle Duzenberry-Ashe and Jamie Burchett in fibers, Rachel has meticulously refined her artistic skills. She cherishes memories of attending demonstrations by renowned artists like Kirk Mangus, Eva Quong, and Paul Soldner at the NCECA in Colorado in 2000. Integral to her development as an artist was also the invaluable support and encouragement from her Uncle Elmer and Aunt Connie Curbow, who played a significant role in nurturing her talents and furthering her education. Her tenure as a resident muralist and her skillful identification of an unidentified Wyeth ceramic bowl are testaments to her exceptional research abilities and meticulous attention to detail.


A significant aspect of Rachel's art is its accessibility and inclusivity. As a tactile learner, she creates art inviting exploration beyond sight. Her work in gerontology and social work and her experiences in diverse cultural settings like the Netherlands and Bulgaria have enriched her perspective on art as a universal language. Her advocacy in education and inclusion is evident in projects designed for the visually impaired, tactile learners, and other diverse audiences. Bivans' artistic technique is the result of dedicated time and exploration across multiple disciplines. Initially struggling as she navigated different media, Bivans eventually found her footing by concentrating on each medium's unique aspects, cultivating a deeply immersive and narrative-driven style. This evolution in her approach was a turning point, where she began to integrate her life experiences into her art, transforming her technique into a habitual practice that reflects her personal style. Bivans' artwork is characterized by a unique blend of expressionism and surrealism, where vibrant narratives are constructed through a masterful use of color, light, and texture. Her paintings often feature figures that appear both connected to and distinct from their surroundings, a stylistic choice that imbues her work with a sense of mystery and depth. Bivans employs a bold palette, juxtaposing warm, fiery tones with cool, contemplative hues to create a visual dialogue within each piece.

About The Artist: Text

LIGHT DISCIPLINE | ACRYLIC AND INK | 24" X 36"

This vibrant painting features two central figures with contrasting skin tones—a person with dark brown skin on the left and a person with light skin on the right. The person on the left is smiling broadly and is dressed in a dark blue shirt with bold yellow accents. The person on the right has curly, blonde hair and a joyful expression, wearing a white shirt with a floral design. Behind them are three abstracted figures, represented with simple oval faces and elongated shapes, rendered in warm earth tones that complement the two central figures. The background is a textured blend of blue and green, creating a lively atmosphere that frames the central subjects.

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About The Artist: Image

In her portrayal of human forms, Bivans embraces abstraction, distilling the essenceof her subjects into simplified silhouettes and expressive brushstrokes. This abstraction is complemented by detailed backgrounds that weave a rich narrative fabric. Bivans' art transcends visual aesthetics, offering a sensory experience that engages touch and even sound, as certain pieces are accompanied by audio in exhibits, enriching the storytelling. Her work often features textual elements, lending a literary quality that deepens the viewer's engagement.


Committed to interactive artistry, Bivans' website features a community feedback questionnaire, and she actively advocates for museum professionals to incorporate multi-sensory experiences in their exhibit spaces, striving to make art a fully immersive experience for a diverse audience. Bivans' technique, celebrated for its tactile quality, frequently employs the impasto method, infusing her paintings with a vivid three-dimensional effect. The textural richness of her work not only amplifies its visual allure but also embodies her dedication to inclusivity, making art accessible to those with visual impairments and individuals who perceive art through touch. Intertwined within the textured layers of her pieces, Bivans sometimes incorporates literal braille, adding another dimension of sensory engagement. The varied textures may align with the visual content or serve a more abstract purpose, with each layer presenting a condensed iteration of the overall composition.


Her works, such as the depiction of a glass jar against a forested backdrop, showcase her ability to capture translucency and reflection, playing with the boundaries between containment and freedom. Meanwhile, other pieces explore the interplay of technology and nature, chaos and order, weaving these opposing forces into a coherent whole. Bivans' art is a visual journey through the complexities of human experience, rendered with a sincerity and a richness that invite contemplation and discovery. Through her paintings, Bivans asserts that the uniqueness of her art stems from its embodiment of her personal narrative, making each piece an intimate revelation of her journey as an artist. Cemetery Courtship; Start at the End | Collage, Acrylic, Ink | 32" x 36

About The Artist: Text
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About The Artist: Image

This dynamic composition features two silhouetted figures standing in a cemetery, created with a mixture of painting and collage techniques. The figure on the left has flowing red hair and is dressed in a long, flowing gown that transitions from a bright yellow to a rich red, reminiscent of a sunset. The figure on the right is in a dark blue, almost black attire with a defined outline, suggesting a solemn stance. The cemetery setting is conveyed through intricate collage elements that resemble gravestones and memorial statues, with textual inscriptions that might hint at epitaphs. These elements are set against a stark black ground. Overhead, the sky is a deep blue with white lines that could represent either cracks or branches, giving the impression of a barrier or a shattered dome. The artwork combines somber themes with vibrant colors, creating a poignant juxtaposition.

About The Artist: Quote

MAGNOLIA, WV: AN ODE TO AMELITA WARD | COLLAGE, ACRYLIC, INK | 32" X 36"

The artwork presents a transparent glass jar set against a backdrop of a forest conveyed through vertical lines that resemble tree trunks. Inside the jar, Rodin's "The Thinker" is seated, surrounded by a blue, water-like ambiance. The jar is sealed with a detailed, textured lid, suggesting age. The interplay between the tranquil interior of the jar and the forest outside creates a narrative of isolation and contemplation. The mediums of collage, acrylic, and ink add a tactile quality to the piece.

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THE ARTIST STANDS BY HER WORK DURING A GALLERY EXHIBIT, RADIATING POSITIVITY WITH HER ENGAGING SMILE. HER CURLY HAIR FALLS GENTLY AROUND HER SHOULDERS, COMPLEMENTING HER ELEGANT SLEEVELESS WHITE TOP. NEXT TO HER IS A SELF-PORTRAIT, VIVID AND TEXTURED, PORTRAYING HER WEARING A FACE MASK, A BRIGHT TULIP IN FRONT OF HER HAND. BELOW THE FIGURE IN THE PAINTING, A LUSH ARRAY OF COLORFUL FLOWERS AND DETAILED IMAGES WITHIN JARS BRING A RICH VIBRANCY TO THE SCENE. THE GALLERY SPACE AROUND HER IS BRIGHT, HIGHLIGHTING THE ARTWORK AS A CENTERPIECE OF THE EXHIBIT

Bivans is a creative force and a devoted educator, leaving her mark through her compelling artistry and her dedication to teaching. Her work is a celebration of creativity and resilience, offering a visual splendor that is matched by the tactile depth of each piece, with every texture telling its own story. As a private educator, Rachel has a history of shaping young minds, generously sharing her time and expertise in the arts, often without charge. Her teaching, already practiced internationally and within Delaware, is enriched by her experience in crafting ceramics curricula, a discipline she has taught multiple times. Furthermore, Rachel has contributed to the arts education sector by designing curricula for non-profits. Her commitment to art education not only crosses geographical boundaries but also breaks down barriers to inclusivity, turning the aspiration for a universal artistic language into tangible reality.

About The Artist: Exhibitions
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