Kevin A. Rausch
By Lexie Jordan, Independent Curator
Intense in raw imagery and intrinsically timeless in nature, the work of Kevin Rausch serves as a patchwork narrative, weaving together stories and scenes in a rich capturing of contemplative moments that waver just on the verge of concrete recognition. Monumental in scale, Rausch’s large format paintings depict far-away panoramas, distinct in their complex layering and astounding physicality, and the beings that wander continuously amongst them.
Perhaps stemming from his Carinthian background, the presence of nature is deeply integrated – at times, providing the global image of the work itself in the form of landscape painting; at others, lending key elements to the creation of an environment marked by the presence of streams, tree branches, and overgrowth, as well as more ambiguous shapes that fleetingly escape definition.
And it is within this fertile, if at times not sporadic, scenery that his anonymous figures can be seen, gazing into the distance, searching amongst the vivid assembly of imagery, overcome by a sense of incessant seeking and longing.
For Rausch, the paintbrush is first and foremost a tool of expression – in his own words, an arm in the fight against the oversaturation of technology of our current times. The canvas, composed of a dynamic layering of techniques, remarkably rich in color and pattern, acts in itself as a sort of interminable quilt, bringing together often seemingly independent elements in an elegant lyricality conducted by Rausch’s distinct stroke – a poetic romanticism that alludes to the history of painting while expressing unique innovation and energy that can simultaneously be seen as a reflection of the very fast-paced society that he rejects.
Alone or in pairs, at the brink of commencing their journey or fast in its midst, Rausch’s unnamed beings – faceless and often portrayed from behind – find themselves in moments of stillness within a larger, continual narrative, exuding the existential angst of the human existence – that is to say, the ultimate quest for meaning.
The altering – or often complete elimination – of perspective brings yet another layer to this inherent angst, with the figure of the body playing an important role in its slight yet steady presence within the sweeping universe of surrounding elements.
Equally engaged in the medium of sculpture, Rausch’s interest in the human form translates directly to his three-dimensional works, where his quasi-life-sized characters, composed of discerningly assembled elements of plaster, wood, and other mixed media, in turn relay their own unique sense of longing. Rich in eclectic costume and eerily enticing in their distinct yet nameless mask-like faces, they appear in groups, marked by the slight notion of forward, steady motion – a band of wandering travelers gazing into the distance, far beyond the confines of the gallery walls.
And so it is perhaps with the personage of the Seeker that Rausch himself identifies, viscerally engaging in his mediums without a defined sense of beginning or end, interweaving – while at the same time vehemently challenging – his own sources of inspiration, from art history and music to the digitality of post-modern society, in a layering of raw forms of expression that draw the viewer into a space of perpetual, often unsettling, contemplation.