On Visibility : John Rainey
Below, are a couple of excerpts from the accompanying literature to John Rainey's show which opened in the Golden Thread Gallery, April 7th for Late Night Art running through to May 14th. I went along for a quick look that night as I attempted gallery hopping during the short time I had to check out as much as possible. Rainey's show along with Anne Marie Taggart's Statis at the University of Ulster gallery were the standouts for me that evening. I decided to go back, get some photos and put down some words about "On Visibility".
Acts of viewing and being viewed have become routine in our experiences of digital living. As being visible, or managing our virtual visibility, becomes increasingly important, so do issues surrounding privacy, censorship, authenticity and illusion.
My previous encounter with Rainey's sculpture was limited to a recent group show at the Golden Thread. When you consider the approach to the installation, sculpture, use of colour and ultimately how the processes used result in objects imbued with a new kind of meaning, there's something quite subversive about the work.
Some of the busts have a renaissance quality yet knowing that they have been modelled in a relatively new computer program and 3D printed, you find yourself questioning their final appearance and what that means. The structure of these and the resulting illusionary aspect is so deliberate. Making the human form inanimate, referencing history, yet using new processes to aid their creation. This is where the intrigue lies for me. The large eyes attached to unplugged cords carry their meaning in a more obvious way, perhaps. The more formless objects attempt to distort and maybe mask the reality of the human form allowing new representation.
The use of colour is limited to blocks of white, black and flesh-like pink grace the walls and fixtures creating a sort of industrial, highly stylised space. There was obviously a conscious effort to highlight these artefacts in some way using colour as this is a rather potent, if not dominant element in the space. The juxtaposition actually creates a sort of structure and loose identity for the objects making them all relatable to each other. Perhaps, there might be an ulterior symbolic meaning but on a purely visual level, this worked for me.
The piece I was drawn to most is the sculpture used to promote the show, "Head in Hands". There's a sort of nightmarish quality to the actuality of the physical piece. The hands laid a top of each other creating what we know to be a human form with a smile peaking through the limbs. It's a little bit jarring but it's a pretty desirable object for that peculiarity alone. I think it best instills the sort of ideology Rainey wants to explore as well.
If you want to check out the show for yourself, the Golden Thread Gallery is open from 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and it's free to attend. Cheers for reading.