Iowa Artists 2020: Rachel Cox


October 16, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Blank One Gallery

Iowa Artist 2020 will feature selections from photographer Rachel Cox’s “Mors Scena” series. After participating in funeral arrangements for family members, Cox became interested in the décor of funeral homes, and how the colors, lighting, and formal elements of these staged environments manifest within the grieving process. The artist conducted research at small, independently owned funeral homes to not only capture their unique, uncanny spaces, but also delve into how notions of class, culture, and social expectation all play a role in how such places come to look and feel. The resulting photos are part documentary, part formal exploration, and part arranged fiction, all working together to capture the surreal uncertainty and a concrete sense of loss often present after a death in contemporary America.

Rachel Cox lives and works in Iowa City as the Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Iowa. Her work has been shown at the Houston Center for Photography, the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, the Belfast International Photography Festival, and the Museo de los Artes in Mexico City, among many other national and international venues. Her images have been published in TIME, the Huffington Post, VICE, the British Journal of Photography, and The Guardian. This exhibition is curated by Laura Burkhalter.


Rachel Cox (American, born 1984)
Untitled 22 from the “Mors Scena” series, 2020 
Archival pigment print
Courtesy of the artist

entirely unexpected