Monday, August 11, 2014

Dan Guerrero / Blog 04 / Neo Rauch

Neo Rauch
Neo Rauch born in 1960 in Liepzig, Germany, is a painter whose style is not easily defined. While on the surface one might draw parallels to surrealism, Rauch doesn’t like the comparison and feels his work is more in the realm of Socialist Realism. There is also an element of Pop art about his work, with boldly outlined colorful character like representations painted alongside more realistic subject matter. Highly narrative compositions make up Rauch’s work, with overlapping planes, inconsistent figure sizes, carefully executed perspective space next to nonsensical space all contributing to a great amount of activity across the canvas. There is a combination of painting styles in Rauch’s large canvases, one section might be painted in great detail, while another is left sketchy and vague. Figures in the artist’s paintings have a nostalgic feel about them and seem more like props, actors or representatives of society rather than real people. In Rauch’s painting Suche (Search) from 2004 a large chimera dominates the center of the canvas, wearing a text scrawled sandwich board and trailing it’s slimy tail down the building lined avenue. The two patrons at the outdoor café don’t seem to mind its presence, nor does the waitress, who greets it with a beverage. Beyond the plaza is an idyllic tree covered hilly landscape with a few buildings in the distance. Even if Rauch doesn’t like the comparison to the surrealists, there is truly a dream like state being conveyed in this painting. However, the idealized accepting attitudes of all represented in the painting, from the chimera who has every reason to be shunned, to the stray dog being lovingly petted, the ideal of one for all and all for one in the scheme of Socialist realism rings a welcome tone that Surrealists never realized.

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