Born in Reidsville, North Carolina, Rebecca Humphrey received a MFA in painting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Humphrey taught art at James Madison University from 1972 until her retirement in 1999. She experienced art’s healing power early as a child when painting and drawing helped her through an extended period of illness.
Now residing in Linville, Virginia, Humphrey creates works using paper as her medium. Attracted to its relief and collage possibilities, she makes paper from a mixture of ground cotton, other plant fibers and water. Humphrey’s strong interest in color is apparent in her low-relief cast works. The artist uses permanent pigments, paints and collage materials to achieve vivid color contrasts. She enriches her pieces texturally by building up layers of collage and often includes found objects in her works.
I employ a variety of media but my artwork remains largely based in paper. Ground cotton or other plant fibers are mixed with water, placed against bas-relief forms that leave fossil like impressions when dry. I love the way handmade paper accepts color in both its wet and dry states. My palette is pails of colored pulp ranging from earthy greens to sunburst yellows. The tactile quality of handmade paper and collage nudge me into a playful interaction with my materials, emotions, memories and experiences.