Gavin Rain

1971, Cape Town, South Africa

In order to gain awareness of something that is concealed yet right in front of your eyes, or hidden in plain sight, you must distance yourself. Rain´s art is a metaphor for life.

Rain has invented a form of art that is both unique and participative. Anybody looking at one of his paintings can perceive the convergence of two opposing pictorial styles: the abstraction of the many coloured concentric circles that thicken into dense and imperfect dots in relief, and the figurative aspect of the image that is defined by the sum of these same dots as the viewer retreats. The artist’s intended message lies here: His art is an invitation to also create some distance in life, because as Gestalt psychology sustains, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We must view the big picture, the whole, without worrying about isolated events or individual points of view.

Up close, Rain’s paintings consist of small concentric dots painted in different colours of acrylic paint. From a distance the eye merges these colours into one. The more distance taken, the clearer the portrait becomes. He begins this process with a sketched portrait. To decide the place of the dots on the canvas, he uses a string grid, or projection. The grid takes around ten hours to make, but is more accurate than projection, so Rain uses both techniques. Then he picks the colours for the final dots, by deciding the final colour of the dot and works backwards. Rain has a list of 14.000 different dots that he has made. From this list, he picks the combination that creates the desired colour. Dot size is important. The white canvas Rain works on means the bigger the dots, the darker an area gets and the smaller the dots, the lighter the area becomes. The colours of separate dots will also merge together into a new colour. It is not just each dot but also a combination of dots that create the colour.

© 2021 by Villa del Arte Galleries

Contemporary Art Gallery in Barcelona | Amsterdam