Rachel Daack

Rachel Daack

Dubuque, IA


Daack has been creating art regularly for the last ten years or so. She studied art at Clarke University in Dubuque for some of those years, and that education reignited her passion for making art. She had a full art life for the first 20 years of her life, but she lost that connection for a couple of decades.

During those non-art years, however, she unknowingly worked on content ideas as she studied and worked in other fields.  From her undergraduate and graduate work in French, social sciences, and history, Daack became a book editor, HTML programmer, environmental educator, grant evaluator/strategist, and professor. She is currently working on creating an art education non-profit. Daack has also volunteered with many community organizations addressing racism, poverty, gender discrimination, and education inequity.

Being a parent of two wonderful humans and the spouse of a fantastic partner have additionally informed her work in so many ways. They have been her subjects, models, and suppliers of easels and canvases. Her parents gave her art supplies when she was a child, but she did not listen to them when they suggested she take art classes during undergrad. They knew her. She came to her senses eventually.

Daack creates in her home studio, next to the music studio she shares with her musician husband, Tom. When not making art or playing music, Daack loves gardening, cooking, and reading. 


Artist Statement

Making art fuels me and helps me be more whole.  I pivoted back to art after a 20-year hiatus during my journey with a traumatic brain injury.

I create 2D compositions in my home studio where I explore abstract through representational techniques.  I love the residue and character of media, so plan to see some expressive marks. Some of my self-portrait work and abstract oil paintings allow me to dive deeply into very personal emotional states and to allow those states to influence the content and mark making. My life drawings--charcoal, pastel, and ink--are a negotiation between myself and the models.  Their decisions for positioning and my composition decisions result in my cognitive and emotional response to the human form. As a social scientist, I have a passion for creating art of social truths.  Sounds snooty, but I am trying. Rather than capturing a possessive snapshot of "the other," I explore perspective and composition that helps reflect an experience of a social truth. Sharing art connects me with others—a fundamental social act. 

Some of us did not pay attention to the conditions of the lives of our neighbors until 2020. Workers' conditions were recognized; we celebrated and supported essential workers' lives. We made hearts. We sang from our windows. Yet, by 2022, we chose to no longer see or care for those whose lives we previously acknowledged. This is an act of commission.

Rachel Daack, Act of Commission, 2023, Ink on paper, 36" x 56"