Rae Hearn reconstructs in her paintings a view of the world that combines a clarity as forthright as the South African daylight, or as pure as the moonlit ocean off Kalk Bay, and an ecstatic wonder at the numinous enigmas of life. She has a mysterious ability to make painterly, yet common, sense of very privately felt experiences, be they visual or otherwise.
Her paintings are indebted, to some extent, to Pop art and New Realism, although purely abstract qualities of colour, tonal contrast, shape and placing are also responsible for their intriguing impact. They often show arresting combinations of seemingly unrelated or unusual entities. Blue seductive skies hold lightning as well as pylons, white clouds become smokey giants, the graceful, glowing skeleton of a barque under construction can seem to take off into a velvety dark outer space. And the viewer’s roving eye will travel willingly along in tandem.
Rae’s method is a fairly traditional, but thorough one: she works mostly from small sketches and preliminary collages; goes through larger, abstracted versions on canvas, almost “tryouts”, straight to the definite, final, riveting composition. Often two similar, but different paintings, of the same size, will explore the same theme; one meticulously, almost painstakingly executed, the other more formal, abstracted, yet full of verve.
John Ruskin said that “Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of intelligent effort”. In that respect the beautiful, surprising paintings of Rae Hearn are proof positive.
Rob Kars Weert, Netherlands, 4/8/11