Exhibition explores technology, psychology and digital embodiment through immersive video installation, new video works and paintings.


Emerson Contemporary, Emerson College’s platform for visual art, proudly presents Rachel Rossin: works from THE MAW OF, a solo exhibition featuring recent works initially commissioned by KW Institute of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art by the New York-based painter and digital artist Rachel Rossin. On view in the Media Art Gallery at 25 Avery Street, September 7 - October 15, 2023. Free and open to the public, Tuesday - Saturday from 12-6 pm. 

Works from The Maw Of explores the coming together of flesh, machine, cognition, and code sparked by current research into brain-computer interfaces. Rossin’s work blends painting, sculpture, new media, and more to create digital landscapes, which she uses to address aspects of disorder, embodiment, the all-presence of technology, and its effect on human psychology.

The exhibition features a site-specific immersive installation, innovative new video works, and recent paintings. Conceived as mixed-reality theater, Rossin’s ongoing project addresses the expanded limits of technology and the human body. The artist offers a new poetics and visual language for the next epoch in technology, offering a critical response on what painting is for and its enduring significance in our tech-dependent society.

Rossin's floating LED ‘portals’ continue her investigation into human autonomy and brain-machine integration research. Originally presented at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, The Maw Of situates the innate human desire to continually “remake” ourselves as central to the cultural inflection point represented by the advent of artificial intelligence. 

“Both Rossin’s paintings and digital works offer an immediate visual and visceral experience,” said Dr. Leonie Bradbury, Emerson’s Distinguished Curator-in-Residence. “Joined together they put forward an ambivalent space, one where we find ourselves entangled in shared and overlapping modes of being and in a state of mutual becoming with the virtual and the real.”

Rossin’s small Scry Glass video sculptures incorporate animation central to The Maw Of, and activate the characters and texture of the paintings. The Scry Glasses evoke two modes of looking: a form of divination and fortune-telling, as well as, a form of reflection using a Claude glass, a revolutionary tool used by 18th-century landscape painters. For Rossin, however, these “black mirrors” are not for predicting end times, but instead leave clues for the viewer, allowing us to remain tethered to the present.

Rossin’s recent paintings offer a visual counterpoint to the digital world proposed by The Maw Of. These images draw from the artist’s childhood drawings of biblical figures associated with the apocalypse, representing Rossin’s conception of “the end times.” For Rossin, painting represents a marking of time on the canvas, a recording of the movement of the artist’s body. They continue to emphasize the relevance of painting as a practice and are a reminder of what endures the “annihilation of analog” represented by our increasingly tech-dependent culture.

Press Image Folder

Emerson Contemporary is the College’s platform for showcasing contemporary visual art. It is focused on presenting living artists, their ideas, experiments and creative practices in the areas of media art, performance art and emergent technologies, while critically examining these works in their social context. Dr. Leonie Bradbury is Emerson Contemporary’s Distinguished Curator-in-Residence and the Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art Theory and Practice.

About the Artist

Rachel Rossin (b. 1987, West Palm Beach, FL) is an internationally renowned artist and programmer whose multi-disciplinary practice has established her as a pioneer in the field of virtual reality. Rossin’s work blends painting, sculpture, new media and more to create digital landscapes that address the impact of technology on human psychology, embodiment, sovereignty, and phenomenology. The New York Times has stated “Ms. Rossin has achieved something, forging a connection between abstract painting and augmented perception that opens up a fourth dimension that existed only in theory for earlier painters.”

Rachel Rossin's works have been exhibited at prestigious institutions around the world; including the KW Institute of Contemporary Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Kiasma Museum of Helsinki, K11: Shanghai, The New Museum, Rhizome, The Hyundai Museum of Seoul, GAMeC of Bergamo Italy, HEK of Münchenstein Basel Switzerland, ‘Kim’ Museum of Riga Latvia, The Sundance Film Festival, The Carnegie Museum of Art and the Casino Museum of Luxembourg.

In addition to her artistic practice, Rossin has also lectured at Stäedelschule, Google, MIT, Stanford, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her work has been published in several notable publications, such as Video/Art: The First Fifty Years published by Phaidon, Chimeras, Inventory of Synthetic Cognition by the Onassis Foundation, and Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century by MIT Press.

Rossin's works are in the permanent collection of institutions such as Borusan Contemporary Museum of Art in Istanbul, The Zabludowicz Collection, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work has been widely covered in the press, including National Geographic, The New York Times, The BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Wired Magazine, and many others.

Rossin was recently co-commissioned by the KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York to create an installation and digital artwork entitled THE MAW OF. Rossin lives and works in New York, NY.

About the College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has approximately 4,161 undergraduates and 554 graduate students from across the United States and nearly 70 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs at Emerson Los Angeles, located in Hollywood, and at its 14th-century castle, in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are opportunities to study in Washington, DC, London, China, and the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Mexico, Cuba, England, and South Africa. The College has an active network of 51,000+ alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit emerson.edu.