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Friday, May 15, 2015

JP Rakehorn at Sin City Gallery

By Dr. Laura Henkel,
Contributing Writer

Sin City Gallery is delighted to debut a curated collection of the erotic drawings and paintings of British artist Jp Rakehorn, Best in Show Awardee, 2014, 12 Inches of Sin on view from April 30th – May 31st, 2015. 12" of Sin is an international juried exhibition attracting submissions from allover the world, and as such, the show is recognized as one of the key venues for the erotic art genre.

Known for showcasing daring artwork of all types, Dr. Laura Henkel, Director, Sin City Gallery says: “It’s so exciting to debut JP’s work. I cannot wait to share his work with Las Vegas and beyond. We were delighted when he was awarded best in show for the 12 Inches of Sin exhibition and it’s truly an honor to show case his work which has among many remarkable qualities beauty, mystery and skill. Evocative, subtle and yet also sometimes thrillingly shall we say unambiguous, these contrasts mean he is a master of his genre.”

Clearly imbued with a sense of handwork and craft, and often drawn on non-traditional perishable materials, the works are intensely erotic. Titillating, daring, and intoxicating, a visit to a gallery of his works drives the visitor from one picture to the next to see what intense sexual encounter is captured. Some pictures are overt, graphic and undeniably sexy, while others are subtler –the use of negative space punctuated by a hand, a mouth, and the tilt of a brow or the costume floating fay-like in the sky of the paper.

The play of light and shadow, the sensual line drawing highlighted by white, or black recalls instantly the intimate erotic sketches of the famous artist Gustav Klimt. Like Klimt’s portraits of women in erotic bliss, Rakehorn captures the immediacy, ardor, and moment of erotic encounters. We feel as if we have come upon a series of wonderful secrets, a treasure trove of hidden desires.

Using ordinary people as his subjects, Rakehorn places a heavy emphasis on the process, drawing, filling in, taking away, and this practice is visible in the finished image. This technique makes the artist’s work all the more engrossing, and often deceptive, one stares into a network of seemingly industriously sketched darkness, to see a face emerge, and then the rest of the body clearly engaged in a sexual encounter. Through all the shadow, lines, sfumato, it is as if one can hear breathlessness or a heart beating.

Other pictures are tributes to sexual expression, such as the couple in movement, two becoming three with an intriguing sense of otherworldliness, heat, and passion.

There is an intrinsic naturalism to the artist’s work, not only in the sense that his works are realistic, but his attitude to human sexuality is not isolated, pulled apart from real living in a fetishlike way, but rather runs through themes of the lifecycle experienced by all people, life, creation, death and decay. Blue is like a ghostly memory, a remnant of a dream, an anonymous woman, nude from the waist up, her body disappearing into the wall. Moving beyond sublimation and allegory, Rakehorn’s work is a masterly dance between lascivious views of the most amatory of embraces and an understated grace. One lovely picture shows the movement of hands forming illusory wings from a smoky background and a classical nude. Of his noteworthy practice, the artist says “I try to make pictures that stand up as objects in themselves, without needing lengthy or esoteric explanations. However, that is not to say that they are all surface. I like unfinished work, too. For me, a highly finished picture or sculpture is somehow dead. Sketches, workings, they retain a sense of potential, of life.”

While much of the erotic art is sensational or sometimes delightful to enjoy in a gallery, artists like Rakehorn are universally appealing to the novice art collector, the amorous gift giver and have course, the serious collector of erotica.

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