James Rawson’s esoteric paintings and charcoal works explore a world of primal matter and familiar structures with unknown origins that blur the lines between sculpture and painting.
James Rawson’s material-driven process is deeply minimalist in appearance, resonating with enigmatic structures and ideal sculptural forms. His works recall the influence of Minimalism and the Gutai avant-garde movement. By placing emphasis on the process and act of artistic creation, rather than a stylised compositional narrative, Rawson’s art is as conceptual as it is physical. At once, he removes the artist’s gestural hand while simultaneously conveying the physical, corporeal reality of the art object itself. Grounded with the burnt embers of charcoal, there is tactile and textured nature to the artwork, where there remains a presence a human quality of the artwork, with viewers often tempted to reach out and interact with each piece directly.
James Rawson completed a BA Honors in Fine Art at Loughborough University in 2011 and currently lives and works in Norfolk, England.
Through a process of crushing and sieving James separates out the charcoal into different grades which he then skilfully uses to create varying levels of texture. Mixing them with mediums such as resins and glue in ratios that only he truly understands after years of experimentation.
James has created works of dark beauty and wonder, appearing both familiar and alien. Their rich black surface could be the very crystallisation of the night’s sky, or an extraordinary formation born from the fires of the earth. They are exquisite executions of simplicity, surface texture and the play of light. Cast into geometric forms, their monolithic appearance reaches an ancient part of the human soul, evoking existential feelings of ancestral worship.
“Charcoal has always been a fundamental artist’s material, it was even used by our earliest ancestors to make cave art, creating a feeling of connection to our history when you use it. However, we also have a much greater spiritual connection to this material. Charcoal is almost pure carbon and we are carbon-based life forms. Charcoal and humans are one and the same, two carbon objects. You could think of them like black mirrors, what you are really seeing is a representation of yourself. You are the artwork and the artwork is you.” – James Rawson