Rachel Yezbick is a Los Angeles based artist who works primarily in performance and video. In 2010, she received her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, was published by Wayne State University Press in Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade, and has since been exploring the connections between anthropology and her art practice. In 2016, Yezbick graduated with an MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts. She recently worked at Sundance Institute towards New Frontier new media programming for the Sundance Film Festival, and formerly worked for CURRENT:LA Water Public Art Biennial. She has taught at numerous colleges and universities and has moderated panels with esteemed pioneers in art and technology, such as Scott Snibbe, Will.I.Am, and Suzanne Anker. Yezbick’s work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at New City Space, Glasgow; Studio 41, Glasgow; Garden, Los Angeles; and in group exhibitions at REDCAT, Los Angeles; Human Resources, Los Angeles; The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Detroit; The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, The Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles; Printed Matter, New York; Materials and Applications, Los Angeles; the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; and Glasgow International 2018. She has participated in residencies at The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity as a Visual and Digital Media artist in residence and as a guest artist at the Akademie Schloss Solitude.
Yezbick’s work examines the impact of decentralized global conflict on contemporary morals and social relationships by applying and radically altering the rules of her former discipline. Her curiosity about group identity under late-capitalism has taken her around the globe to Glasgow, Dhaka, Bamako, Detroit, and Los Angeles researching local histories through the aspirational behavior of war reenactors, militarized security personnel, street buskers and panhandlers. Her research has thus far culminated in the completion of two films in an eight-part series titled Nobody’s Like You and I. The work features different individuals who have a highly aestheticized labor practice that speaks to place-specific cultural aspiration.
She frequently uses the dyad, the smallest social unit, to explore how capitalism, money and the social bears on financially unequal relationships. How is the intimacy between two people of differing backgrounds informed by and reflective of impinging social structures? How does shared and divergent aspiration and desire comment upon underlying social values? With this unit, Yezbick comments upon the performances of everyday life, the legerdemain of social roles (the panhandler, the security guard, the art student, the documentary filmmaker) and the ways in which we consciously and unconsciously use, manipulate and aestheticize these roles in order to be seen and heard.
She seeks out those who, despite their marginalized social positions, have fashioned themselves into archetypal model citizens, an aspect of their beings expressed in the aesthetics of their chosen labor. Her work stems from her attraction to others’ overt display of skills as a representation of their social worth, a political paradigm and value she seeks to question, challenge and rework through relation.