Rachel Ungerer 's Story
The National Arts and Disability Center’s Arts & Accessibility Grant, empowered Rachel Ungerer to create a series of 12 works after five years of being unable to paint due to disability. Thanks to this body of work, Ungerer has reestablished her professional art career and is showing in two San Francisco galleries.
Rachel Ungerer is a native San Francisco Bay Area artist. Ungerer’s paintings use gestural brush strokes to capture who a person is in a given moment. With the (NADC) Nation Arts and Disability Center’s Arts & Accessibility Grant, Ungerer created a series of twelve paintings, “Women’s March.” This series is an in-depth exploration of the powerful women who marched at Oakland Women’s March. Ungerer’s work endeavours to bridge political and socio-economic barriers by portraying those who marched as relatable individuals. “Women’s March” echos the voices of those who cried out against a government that would silence them. Ungerer marched that day on behalf of those who could not and painted this series to give permanence to the moment of collective outrage.
Ungerer needed to create this series of paintings to speak out against a government that actively discriminates against disabled people and so many other marginalized groups. As a young woman with an invisible disability, Ungerer is acutely aware of how pervasive ableism is in the United States of America. Everything from the ability to get a job to physical safety on public transit is affected by the way society falsely views disabled people as incapable, non- productive members of society. Moreover individuals with disabilities, like Ungerer, have a vital need for health insurance and healthcare. Though Ungerer is physically disabled, she receives no financial aid from the government, due to the fact that she works. She is treated by a medical professional every week to treat chronic illness. If our government were to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it would be legal for insurance companies to deny disabled people medical coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Without health insurance, Ungerer could not afford the health care she needs to be sufficiently healthy to work or get out of bed in morning. Ungerer created her series of paintings “Women’s March” to stand up for disabled people, who are active valuable members of our society that are dismissed and oppressed for being different.
Ungerer’s disability prevented her from painting for more than five years after earning a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the University of California at Los Angeles. NADC’s Arts & Accessibility Grant gave Ungerer the opportunity to invest time and energy in painting again. Ungerer’s disability often makes it difficult for her to attend gallery openings on a regular basis and build those crucial human connections. With support from NADC, Ungerer developed a large painting portfolio that she used to apply to juried art shows and gallery exhibitions
Ungerer is thrilled to be showing a painting from the “Women’s March” series at Spark Arts Gallery in the Castro district of San Francisco. Her painting “Married to Rosie” was selected to be part of their Bi-Annual Group show. This work centers around the love and defiance of two married queer women. Several of the paintings Ungerer created with the Art & Accessibility Grant were displayed at the Summer Group Show at "Back to the Picture", in the Mission district of San Francisco. NADC enabled Ungerer to reconnect with the art world and to re-establish her career as a professional artist.