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JH

Portraiting Gesturalism

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Toby Raine,  Laura Palmer lighting a cigarette while waiting for Jacques, 2019, oil on linen, 600 x 705 mm Toby Raine,  Chris and Regan MacNeil slip into a parallel paint universe while closing a seance, 2019, oil on linen, 1120 x 1520 mm Chris MacNeil traumatised (Ellen burstyn- The Exorcist), 2019, oil on linen, 600 x 700 mm Toby Raine, Sigourney Weaver possessed by Zuul (Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters), 2019, oil on canvas, 700 x 600 mm Toby Raine, God save the Queen (Queen elizabth in youth with ominous hand), 2019, oil on linen, 1150 x 1000 mm Installation of Toby Raine's Heroines and Heroin at Gow Langsford / Kitchener St Toby Raine, Goodnight Irene (Stepdaughter in profile blowing her nose with flowers), 2019, oil on linen, 700 x 600 mm Toby Raine, Jayne Mansfield's hands holding human skull - version one, 2019, oil on linen, 505 x 450 mm Toby Raine, Ladyhawke (Michelle Pfeiffer as Lady Isabeau) 2019, oil on linen, 710 x 600 mm	Toby Raine, Laura Palmer turning defiantly towards Bobby (Fire Walk with Me), 2019, oil on canvas, 605 x 700 mm	Toby Raine, Mrs New Zealand Elegance 1986 (Rosetta Allan in purple dress), 2019, oil on canvas, 710 x 600 mm	Toby Raine, Painting of the Artist's mother in Youth with Hat (as commissioned by the artist's Father too long ago) (Penelope Raine), 2019, oil on canvas, 700 x 600 mm	Installation of Toby Raine's Heroines and Heroin at Gow Langsford / Kitchener St Toby Raine, PTSD - Linda Blair in floral shirToby Raine, PTSD - Linda Blair in floral shirt remembering being possessed by demons, 2019, oil on linen, 1000 x 1155 mm	Toby Raine, Rust Cole with Tourniquet, version 3, 2019, oil on canvas, 1150 x 1000 mm

If you want, you can try to track down in online ‘entertainment' gossip blogs the various photographs that have kickstarted the painter's desire to agitate his gorgeously streaky multicoloured sludge, but their connection with the final product—as sparked-off pre-image—usually ends up of little value. The correlation might not always be obvious.

Auckland

 

Toby Raine
Heroines and Heroin

 


2 October - 26 October 2019

A viscous mingling of Frank Auerbach, Willem de Kooning and Peter Bagge, but using photography as an impetus and never a collage, Toby Raine continues his energetic—seemingly gleeful and comic—program of expressionist (usually celebrity) portraiture. This time though, he seems more aware of the stretcher’s edges, more filling of that rectangle with abandoned swirls and splattering smears—angular physiognomies quickly drawn, dense with scraped channels rendering through an eviscerating cartoonist’s savagery. The canvases are bigger too.

If you want, you can try to track down in online ‘entertainment’ gossip blogs the various photographs that have kickstarted the painter’s desire to agitate his gorgeously streaky multicoloured sludge, but their connection with the final product—as sparked-off pre-image—usually ends up of little value. The correlation might not always be obvious.

After all, the point is the physical impact and drama: buckets of oily substance and its manipulated three-dimensional goop—a piled up relief other artists like the brilliant English illusionist Glenn Brown work at strenuously denying. What is fascinating is that Raine is an Elam, not Ilam, painter, a rarity with his atelier preoccupations. He possibly can be connected to the late (occasionally stunning portraitist) Alan Pearson, but less rhythmical, fractured, and operatic, and much more mischievous—being anti-zeitgeist. His work has a Baconesque messy exuberance but with one eye on the silver screen.

These are better ‘visage’ paintings than say the facile celebrity portraits by Lorde picturemaker, Sam McKinniss (Note Raine’s title). They are not illustrational or even (God forbid) about the subject—despite their somewhat wordy titles. You could say they are really abstractions in the Franz Kline / Pierre Soulages tradition. Mucky icky-sticky gesturalism.

John Hurrell

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