What strikes me most about her work is that the minute you see her stiletto planters, you get the message. In using old stilettos, Rachel focuses on how contemporary images, symbols rather, of artificial beauty have influenced our ideas of what is beautiful. And she juxtaposes that with the natural beauty of plants that possess rare and wild beauty, strength and the ability to survive in hard conditions. Mahlke thus makes a statement: she challenges the connection of female beauty with artifice or pain, and invites us all to question this connection 'imposed' to us by popular culture icons. And it's not just art for art's sake: Her planters are actually functional. And ecofriendly, since she recycles plastic stilettos!
It's nice to see this artist experiment with other objects connected with female beauty, too. She manages to communicate her message very successfully every time! Don't you just love her?