Artist James Rawson explores a world of primal matter and familiar structures with unknown origins that create a sense of wonder and mystery. James Rawson pierces the facade of our everyday world with his esoteric paintings and charcoal works that blur the lines between sculpture and painting. These works plunge us into a deep dream-like world, inhabited only by enigmatic monolithic structures and long forgotten sculptures. In this world the maker’s mark is evident but the maker is not, unknown origins speak of lost civilisations, presenting more questions than they give answers as structures appear untouched by time. Both facets of this work allude to a greater metaphor for mans mark upon the world, of our insatiable use of natural resources and our relentless greed for material wealth.
James Rawson Charcoal Monoliths
James has created works of dark beauty and wonder, appearing both familiar and alien. Their rich black surface could be the very crystallization of the night’s sky or an extraordinary formation born from the fires of the earth.This body of work is woven with a perception of the simple elements from our world, stone, water, ice, fuel and fire, moulding them together with the power of ancient structures. Look closely and you will see James has created deeper metaphors than at first appear. They are exquisite executions of simplicity, surface texture and the play of light. Cast into geometric forms, their monolithic appearance reaches an ancient part of the human soul, evoking existential feelings of ancestral worship.
James says: “Charcoal has always been a fundamental artist’s material, it was even used by our earliest ancestors to make cave art, creating a feeling of connection to our history when you use it. However, we also have a much greater spiritual connection to this material. Charcoal is almost pure carbon and we are carbon-based life forms. Charcoal and humans are one and the same, two carbon objects. You could think of them like black mirrors, what you are really seeing is a representation of yourself. You are the artwork and the artwork is you.”
James Rawson Paintings: The Sanctum series
If we look at the paintings, primal matter takes on the form of omnipotent structures, using the familiar to create an alien landscape. Deprived of information we are left to wonder if what we see has been placed or revealed by time. We must ask are these structures a metaphor for the mark of man upon the earth, alluding to our lasting impact on our planet, or a metaphor for the man himself.
Drifting monuments symbolise lost faiths, but allude to our continuing worship of material wealth. Pyramids represent worship but at the same time hierarchy. As well as referring to materialism and social hierarchy the pyramids here serve as a deeper metaphor for people as individuals and all of mankind. The veins in the marble being representational of our own. In this sense, the Pyramid, man and civilisation could be thought of as one.
Perfect structures stand firm, misplaced against the rugged landscape that threatens to swallow them. There is always a sense of impending doom for these objects. We are given the sense that we are being granted a window into their last moments.
Link to James Rawson painting in his studio, in a time-lapse video.
Link to next Artist: Joe Castro