Rachel Brownlee, born and raised in western Nebraska, is bringing an intense, visceral, and genuine portrayal of the American West to life. While her work takes form in inks and graphite, her work most often takes form in large-format charcoal drawings. A deceivingly heightened photorealistic approach to both her aesthetics and the representations of her subjects challenges the idealizations of the West.
Brownlee taught herself the skills of drawing by her own life studies on her family’s cattle ranch. Self-taught with little exposure to the arts, she replicated the images from her favorite books and reproduced her visions of life in the West. Despite honing her artistic skills, she went on to receive a degree in Computer Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. While she spent time working for software engineers and even starting her own company creating cattle management software for larger ranches, her undeniable talents led her to pursue her career as an artist.
As a young woman, she enhanced her naturalistic style. She wanted to provide an authentic and equitable voice to those who often found their lives romanticized. Her work provides intimate glimpses into the thrills and excitement of the living West, but also the hardships, the struggles, and the suffering that these individuals and animals endure. Today she lives on her cattle ranch with her family, allowing her daily life on the ranch to become seamlessly interwoven with her artistic practice.
To date, Brownlee has received a number of awards and exhibitions nationwide including Best of Show at the Mountain Oyster Club and the Cowgirl Up! and the Patron's Award at the Museum of Western Art’s 40th Anniversary Exhibition.