The 2018 exhibition season of SimonBart Gallery in Porto Cervo and Poltu Quatu continues with “Iconic Dots”, solo show of the South African artist Gavin Rain.
The title of the exhibition summarizes the two predominant aspects of Rain’s work: it refers both to his habit of portraying faces-icons of our time, and to the particular technique with which the artist creates his paintings and for which he is now known throughout the world.
Studies in art, psychology and neuropsychiatry make the research of Gavin Rain an absolutely unique and transversal investigation. The artist manages to translate cognitive activity into a visual expression: starting from the perceived datum, he reworks the image and reorganizes it into formal structures. The colored circles interfere with the perception of the eye and, depending on the distance from which they are observed, show a carefully defined portrait or a completely abstract image.
In the artist’s works there is the intense and ancient association between art and science, the one that has accompanied the history of global art over the centuries. Rain undoubtedly looks to the Impressionists and to the pointillist Seurat, who first broke the images in dots of color, also recalls the constructivist art of the Russian Avant-garde whose appeal is in the color composition but in his works resounds also the echo of the German school and of the Bauhaus which analyzed the instability of forms and the ambiguity of color in the same way.
Rain, just like his precursors, experiments with new techniques, breaks down the image of the face to be reproduced in chromatic shades and creates color blocks that separate thanks to a grid in which he arranges the precise position of the dots. He calculates the size and thickness of each dot and he studies the color composition of the circles so the eye can perceive them as a single color. The final result of the work is the result of the original sign of the artist and his intense mathematical study on the reflection and refraction of light and the consequent variants of optical perception.
There is also a profound cultural reflection behind an intense technical work. Like Andy Warhol reproduced the icons of society to free them from the fetishistic value and empty them of meaning, so Gavin Rain invites us to reflect on the value of images, on the sense or non-sense of the visual information from which we are constantly bombarded. The work of the South African artist emphasizes the importance of two fundamental and separate phases of knowledge: the perception and understanding that often overlap and cancel each other out. So Gavin Rain asks for an effort to the public that is not only visual but also intellectual because basically “perception requires commitment”.