Jean Raine (1968)

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Those who consider the "psychedelic" look to be a phenomenon in art might profit from a visit to a show of paintings by Jean Raine.

These are mostly recent paintings, but they reflect Raine’s roots in the Cobra group which grew up in the late fourties in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. This group was inspired by the art of the "insane" along with folk and children’s art, to produce paintings of brute expressionism, as exemplified by such more familiar figures as Karl Appel and Asger Jorn.

Raine’s déranged compositions of grotesque, mask like faces and disembodied eyes also carry a feel of the genuine product. In contrast to this, much of what passes for psychedelic art seems like so much gamesmanship with simulated schizophrenia and synthetic styles.

Raine’s figures emerge in heavy outline from an abstract-expressionistic weft of tiny brushstrokes which create hairy textures in variagated color and mysterious spatial recesses. His larger, black and white paintings tend toward uncontrolled chaos, and his monsters evoke somewhat more humor than shock.

The strongest works are smallish paintings in acrylic on paper, combining the richness and control of oil with the transparency and flow of tempera. They have a Rouault-Chagal depth and interior illumination wich transforms expressionism into a seductive symbolism.