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ALESSANDRO RAHO
Simon, 2007

49(w) x 33(h) cm
19.29(w) x 12.99(h) inches
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Simon, 2007

INFORMATION
49(w) x 33(h) cm
19.29(w) x 12.99(h) inches
Show scale of piece
Lithograph

Edition of 25

Alessandro Raho Biography

(British, b. 1971)
Carl, Catherine, Ewan, Simon and others, Alessandro Raho introduces friends and family through engaging and stimulating portraits. Gazing directly at the viewer his subjects call for attention. Kevina, only wrapped in a pink towel and caught slightly off guard, just having stepped out of the bath; and Ben - hands in pockets - poses in his new Moschino t-shirt. These are portraits of its time affirming the artist’s position as principle figure amongst a generation of figurative painters.

A graduate of Fine Art from the prestigious Goldsmith in ‘94, Raho stepped onto the London art scene at a time when new British art had the media spotlight; in particular everything from the graduates at Goldsmith. Damien Hirst, Abigale Lane, Sarah Lucas and a dozen more artists - supported by mega-collector Charles Saatchi in his self-interest - would boldly push aside the old guard, and by the mid-nineties a loosely defined group of Young British Artists, or YBA’s, epitomised the zeitgeist. Raho would quickly be regarded as one of them.

His oils have a flatness to them that call to mind the palette of British artist David Hockney, and a compositional resemblance of works by Alex Katz; an American figurative painter, renowned for his confident flower close-ups and cropped tree-trunks, and simplistic portrayal of East Coast characters and Hamptons lifestyle. Both artists had a noticeable influence on Raho’s artistic practice. Although captivated by photorealism, the artist equally holds an awareness of the techniques of traditional portraiture that would not hide brush strokes or spots of paint-texture coming out of the canvas. This is seen by the range of techniques whereby a sharp, photo-realistic approach is utilised to highlight objects man-made, with the faces and skin of his subjects, soft. Two dissimilar painting practices, bringing the subject right into the heart of the 21st century albeit with a foot in the door of the past.

Via whoever is sitting for him, Raho attempts to bridge the traditions of modern painting with fashion and design, often depicting his figures in trademark pants and t-shirts; as his grandmother, Bianca Maria, posing in a tracksuit. His intricate technical processes to make his paintings seemingly photographic not only make those sentiments all the more palpable for the viewer in their realism, but also helps to establish an informal relationship between the subject and viewer, ultimately dealing with a narrative of nostalgia and human emotion. The results are portraits with a relaxed, fresh and contemporary approach, alongside sharp, photo-realistic elements; signs of modern times, such as boldly patterned fabrics or clothing jazzed up by a fashion label, Snoopy the comic strip dog or Mickey Mouse.

Raho’s portraits, whether it is of friends, family or a pine tree, all have an effect and a modern feel that tell a broader story of our time.

Alessandro Raho had an instantaneous start to his career. Born in Nassau, Bahamas, he later moved to London and graduated from Goldsmith College of Art in ’94. The following year his work was selected for the Young British Artist showcase, ‘Brilliant!’, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, exhibiting alongside some of the YBA trailblazers. While being determined never to do commissioned portraits he eventually gave in when approached by the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2005 for a portrait of the British actor, Judi Dench; a portraits which today is part of the museum primary collection. His works have been widely exhibited and is held in several museum collections such as Tate Modern, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Berardo Collection, Lisbon. Raho lives and works in the United Kingdom.

Making him one of Raho’s most painted subjects, the sixteenth portrait of Ewan was released as a lithographic print in 2001, alongside the serene landscape view, San Francisco. Both print editions represent the artist’s early practice and demonstrate Raho’s talent within modern painting. Printed as an iris print, San Francisco is an edition of 100, and the enigmatic Ewan is an edition of 200. Both editions are signed and numbered on front.

 
Recommended Reading
Carl, Catherine, Ewan, Simon and others, Alessandro Raho introduces friends and family through engaging and stimulating portraits. Gazing directly at the viewer his subjects call for attention. Kevina is only wrapped in a pink towel and caught slightly off guard, just having stepped out of the bath; and Ben - hands in pockets - poses in his new Moschino t-shirt. These are portraits of its time affirming the artist’s position as principle figure amongst a generation of figurative painters. Released as print editions, Ewan and Simon are two friends often revisited in his work, while the landscape work, San Francisco, represents an analogue form of portraiture. Each one a candid portrait of the world encircling Raho.
Read more ...
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