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Olivier Rasir's 'Wild Man Dreaming'

Studio Visit

A collection of high-saturation mixed-media abstracts, Olivier Rasir’s Wild Man Dreaming opens at Art2Muse Gallery in Double Bay on July 24th.

Ahead of the exhibition unveil, the Sydney-based painter reflects on his relocation to Australia, commitment to process, and energetic, intuitive mark making.

13th July, 2018

Artist Olivier Rasir in his Sydney studio. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

The artist exhibition Wild Man Dreaming is on at Art2Muse Gallery from July 24th. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

‘It is one of the original buildings in a quiet street, it has a large courtyard and the feel of a French farmhouse. I paint on the walls, on the floor, outside, inside – I move the works around,’ tells Olivier of his Alexandria studio. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

The artist is highly process-driven and sees his work as intuitive and gestural. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Olivier uses oil, oilstick, acrylic, spray paint and marble dust. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

‘The feeling of ‘Wild Man Dreaming’ has always been there when I paint,’ says Olivier. ‘The current exhibition is a continuation of this feeling and is an opportunity to more fully understand my process.’ Photo – Jacqui Turk.

The exhibition comprises mixed-media works on board, paper, canvas and hand-cut raw industrial canvas –Olivier was inspired by the textured surfaces of indigenous cave painting and street art to recreate the rough texture and external environment. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Olivier’s exhibition runs until August 6th. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Photography – Jacqui Turk.

Elle Murrell
Friday 13th July 2018

‘In Belgium, I felt claustrophobic and restricted, the heaviness of centuries-old solidified class system,’ begins artist Olivier Rasir, who immigrated in 1995. ‘Australia has given me a sense of liberation and freedom and painting further frees me; it’s one of the vehicles I use to process my existence.’

Growing up in a rural village where sport was his main focus, at 21, Olivier took an opportunity to relocate to Australia with his then Australian partner. After initially working as a model and actor, he began painting in 2003. This passion evolved into his full-time pursuit and today he paints from a beautiful old building in a quiet street of Sydney’s Alexandria.

The artist’s experimental work is very much process driven and revolves around raw materials (oil, oilstick, acrylic, spray paint, marble dust), surface, and gestural, incidental mark making. One element informs the next in an energetic yet organic fashion, as is encapsulated in the title of his latest exhibition: Wild Man Dreaming.

‘When I’m in my studio and painting, there are no rules,’ says the 44-year-old artist. ‘My paintings are a response to myself and my environment; thought processes and emotional states play themselves out. They often seem to come from nowhere that I am conscious of – the beliefs of Indigenous people worldwide on unseen realities resonate with me. And I feel like my paintings come through me.’

Olivier’s latest exhibition opens at Art2Muse Gallery on July 24th, spanning mixed-media works on board, hand-cut raw industrial canvas, canvas and paper. Many of the imaginative depictions do feature figurative elements, in particular animals, as well as aerial views, pathways and gardens. While in selected works, the artist has also penned poetry (in French or English) as an underpainting, before overlaying blocks of colour and line work.

He typically paints both the front and back of his canvases, allowing colours to bleed through to form subtle and soft tonal effects. He’ll also often take a blade(!!) to them, folding and manipulating canvas into the work itself. The finished works are either stretched after completion or exhibited un-stretched, framed under glass – in their ‘purest form’.

‘Different mediums create challenges and I love finding ways to make something new work,’ tells Olivier. ‘Every time I start a painting I never know how it will evolve; I feel I’ve only glimpsed what it is to create!’

Wild Man Dreaming by Olivier Rasir
July 24th – August 6th
Art2Muse Gallery
357 New South Head Road
Double Bay New South Wales

‘I feel I’ve only glimpsed what it is to create!’ – Olivier Rasir.

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