This July, Hanson Howard Gallery is pleased to share the work of Carolyn Hazel Drake and Rachael Zur.

At Home with the Dead explores the sacred potential in ordinary domestic objects and spaces to connect us to the lives and spirits of the dead. Constructing a visual language from borrowed or fabricated symbols, Carolyn Hazel Drake and Rachael Zur use depicted and actual domestic objects to amplify the conversation between humble spaces and the spirits that dwell there.

When viewed together, their work suggests altars or shrines: places for communion with ancestors and memories.

In Carolyn’s work, tender, painstakingly-crafted ceramics and hand-stitched textiles are presented alongside familiar tokens of home, such as clocks, mirrors, and candlesticks. Centered in each installation is a handbuilt funerary urn. These collections of handmade objects and readymades are meditations on the ways humans are sensitive to the surrounding atmosphere, porous to the invisible things that move through the air, be they viruses or wildfire smoke, or spirits and voices of those who have passed on. The finished groupings create a gentle dissonance between the sacred and the mundane and lean hard towards the analog world as a tangible means of processing ephemeral but very real experiences of death and loss.

Rachael’s expanded paintings blend sculptural physicality with traditional painting techniques utilizing an assortment of materials to paint on such as plaster, pumice, ceramics, and fabric. Her paintings depict ordinary objects from living rooms which hold the remaining radiance and tenderness of the departed, though the architectural space itself is left undefined. Working with materials that have weight to them, she grounds ephemeral concepts into an artwork that is physically solid and fixed. The artwork holds the ideas and feelings which are light and almost impossible to contain, similar to how homes can hold the lingering domestic presence of the departed.

Carolyn Hazel Drake is a sculptor, arts educator, and third-generation Oregonian. Her work integrates textiles, ceramics, and domestic objects assembled and layered through traditional craft techniques and collage. She references devotional objects, archetypal imagery, and folktales to create work that feels familiar yet cryptic.

Carolyn studied Literature & Architecture at Portland State University’s Honors College and spent a term as a Curatorial Research & Writing intern for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She has an M.Ed. in Arts Education and was a longtime K-12 Public Educator and Arts Administrator in Oregon school districts. She has been awarded the Glean Residency, the Leland Ironworks Residency, the Suttle Lodge Artist Residency, and the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology Residency, and is an active participant in the Annual Portland Textile Month. Her work has been shown at Guardino Gallery, Oregon Contemporary, Blackfish Gallery, Hanson Howard Gallery, and the Sitka Art Invitational. Most recently, Carolyn joined the faculty of the School of Art at Arizona State University as an Assistant Teaching Professor for Art Education. She divides her time between Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon.

Rachael Zur’s expanded paintings blend sculptural physicality with traditional painting techniques to depict objects found in living rooms. Her work is twice published in New American Paintings, as well as Friend of the Artist, Under The Bridge Magazine, and Stay Home by Stay Home Gallery and Residency. After 12 years as a stay at home mom, Rachael resumed her education and completed her MFA in 2019 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since then, she has exhibited her work throughout the United States, and has worked as a Program Mentor in the Low Residency MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2021, she drove her family of five across the country in an RV to complete a residency at Stay Home Gallery while homeschooling her three children during their cross country camping adventure. Rachael currently resides in the greater Portland Metropolitan area where she strives to set boundaries on when her kids can hang out in her studio.