Yale Daily News

“Enclosure,” a film and installation by Rachel Rose ’09, is being exhibited at Gladstone Gallery in New York. The show includes select paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, which are related to her work’s overall themes.

In an “at home: Artists in Conversation” discussion hosted by the YCBA, Rose said that “Enclosure” was initially commissioned in 2019 by the Park Avenue Armory in New York and the Luma Foundation in Arles, France. The exhibition’s main feature is a 30-minute film, but it also presents paintings from the YCBA such as Samuel Palmer’s “Harvest Moon” and Joseph Wright of Derby’s “Matlock Tor by Moonlight.” According to YCBA Director Courtney J. Martin GRD ’09, the exhibition explores how the Industrial Revolution and the privatization of common land has influenced issues such as ecology, gender and workers’ rights. 

“Being a [YCBA Student Guide], I developed an intimate relationship with many of the works in the collection, and I was thinking about this record of the landscape then and how our present climate crisis is rooted in the shifts happening in this moment,” Rose said. “The paintings feel close to me, I’ve grown up alongside them in this way.”

Rose noted that her position as a student guide at the Yale Center for British Art, a program in which Yale undergraduates develop a tour based on their interests and engage with the museum’s art, greatly helped her to curate her installation but also explore nineteenth-century art and how it influences modern art.

Academics also helped shape Rose’s artistic interests, as she cites Keith Wrightson’s course “History of Agrarian England” as one of the biggest inspirations for her installation. Drawing additional inspiration from mediums such as the movies “Barry Lydon” and “Winstanely” and a biography of Shakespeare, Rose explored how the social upheaval in agrarian England influenced people’s relationships with the landscape.

Rose’s film takes place in 17th-century England, but was shot in upstate New York. 

“The light and landscape there doesn’t feel at all as it does England,” Rose said. “The light is harsh and high, the grass much stringier and paler. When I was looking at the footage I wanted to find a way to make that landscape more British, and the simplest way was to replace the skies.”

Rose explained that in agrarian England, the sky was central to people’s worldviews since the stars and sun directed the growth of crops. As industrialization took hold, the skies became a site of emotional expression — romanticism. 

Rose cites the paintings she decided to take on loan from the Yale Center for British Art for her installation as influences on the world of her film. This intimate relationship between herself and the artworks comes as no surprise due to the learning-intensive elements of the student guides program. 

Linda Friedlaender, head of education at the Yale Center for British Art, noted that the Yale Center for British Art offers its student guides the opportunity to learn about British art, history and culture from the Elizabethan Era to the modern-day. Friedlaender added that student guides are expected to create their own art tour “informed by what they themselves know and are studying,” but “the most important thing about the tour is that it has to be accurate.”

“We have an incredible number of students who have performed after their time at Yale in the arts,” Friedlaender said. “It has felt really good that so many people have enjoyed their time as a student guide that they have pursued a career in the arts.”

“Enclosure” will be exhibited at the Gladstone Gallery on 530 West 21st St. in New York City from Jan. 14 until Feb. 26.

Christion Zappley currently serves as the Co-Editor for the Podcast Desk. He was previously a lead producer for the "Full Disclosure" series and created and ran "The Rundown." Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Christion is a Davenport College junior double majoring in English and Comparative Literature with a Film Focus.