Anne Carney Raines

           I think of my paintings as creating connections and associations between a viewer and a space. The spaces I create do not include people, but they do suggest habitation at some point, past or present. When I arrived at Indiana University for undergraduate study I was only interested in painting the figure and portraits of people whose lives and stories needed to be shared. I mostly painted the women who I grew up with in Uganda.

           I slowly came to realize that it was extremely difficult to get these ideas across with the figure. It is difficult for a viewer to get past the formal qualities of painting the skin and face, as well as the associations that are drawn from painting African women as a white woman in the United States. I realized that I was more interested in developing my ideas through subtle images that contain bits of my experiences such as those with women in American and East African culture. I do not believe life is black and white any more than I believe people are all good or all evil. Because of this, I strive for a body of work that explores issues relevant to my life in a non confrontational way. These issues are not always going to be clear to the viewer but I am the painter and I am made up of my experiences and ideas that cannot be separated from my everyday practice.

           I am influenced greatly by Matthias Weischer who creates dynamic spaces that use modernist architecture to convey ideas about failure and loneliness in the contemporary existence (The Museum of Contemporary Art). I appreciate the New Leipzig School painters in general because they create artworks specific to the politics of living in East Germany that are also relatable to the outside world. Their images marry traditional painting techniques with the color and intuition of abstract painting.

           I like to use elements in my paintings that will tie them to a time period or give clues to the viewer that ignite a storyline. I am interested in the physical layers that form on a wall giving a glimpse of multiple stories and ghosts of people. Many of the great stories we hear are interesting and memorable because of their honesty, embarrassment, shame, or tragedy. Light hearted or not, we sometimes hide these stories that are a part of ourselves. In that way, I think the things we choose to hide are not always as unique to us as we think they are. We can be drawn to the creepy stories and artworks because on some level we can relate to them. This is what draws me to an invented empty space or a messy wall and the associations that can be made within that scenario. Through the character of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “The more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.” I have always been interested in identity and what we chose to show and how the spaces we live in reflect this.

           The majority of the spaces I create are completely invented. I like to use texture and thick paint to create a believable space with a field of depth. I enjoy the complexities that arise from a plain wall and a sliver of shadow cast by a single piece of paper. I am drawn to somewhat simple and light spaces that hint toward something darker. I aim to trick the viewer with realism in some areas of the painting and make the brain work to make sense of things in others. I want the paint to look like it is sitting flat on a surface in certain places and transforming into something more dimensional in others. These are the contrasts that drive my desire to paint and chase after something that is always just out of reach.

Short list of artist I have been looking at this year:

 Matthias Weischer

Hilary Harkness

Charlie Roberts

Jonas Burgert

Alex Kanevsky

Peri Schwartz

Squeak Carnwath

Joey Borovicka

Mamma Andersson

Ulf Puder

Gregory Gillespie

Antonio Lopez Garcia

Sarah Hunter

Miki Carmi

Marc Giai-Miniet

Contact :: ace.raines at gmail.com

 

References

Arthur Lubow. “The New Leipzig School.” The New York Times. 8 Jan. 2006. web. 28 March 2014.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest Association, 1987. Print.

The Museum of Contemporary Art. Los Angeles. “Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years.” web. 5 April 2014.