Racine: Birdman (Bronze, 22x11x9 inches)
One of the perks of my life as a blogger is that I hear from readers all over the world. One such reader is a sculptor, Pierre Racine, from Quebec, Canada. While Racine is not an outsider artist, his sculpture has the “feeling” of some outsider work I saw recently. For this reason, I am taking a detour from my usual outsider art discoveries to introduce you to his work.
Racine: Bowing to the Fertility Gods (Bronze, 13x9x4 inches)
Last month I attended a conference at the Prinzhorn Museum in Heidelberg, Germany. I was delighted to see a small part of the permanent collection, like the work by Karl Brendel (1871 – 1925). Brendel’s work began (strangely) when he modeled figures out of chewed bread. He was encouraged to begin wood carving and he left a collection of animal, hermaphrodite, and religious figures, like this one below:
I’m not suggesting that Racine is (or should be) in a psychiatric hospital, but I get the same sense of intrigue when I look at his work. What are these magical creatures and what makes me want to pick them up to examine the details and feel the textures? They are beautiful and strange, and strangely beautiful.
I exchanged a few emails with Racine to learn about his work. He has worked in various mediums, including drawing, painting, installations, clay, stone, paper-pulp, and for the past 20 years, bronze. Racine has a degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University. He has an impressive history of exhibits, both national and international and his work is owned by Canadian and international collectors. Racine has travelled the world, and his interest in Latin and South America has taken him there many times. His love of Pre-Columbian art comes through in his sculpture; I can see that influence in shapes and rich patinas of his sculptures.
Racine says this about his work:
It may be difficult for the observer to grasp the hidden messages in my work as it can be interpreted in many different ways. My main preoccupation with sculpture, however, is mastering the use of techniques, materials, composition and the physical properties of form and line, for the sheer pleasure of creating strong, original, and aesthetically pleasing works of art.
The meaning behind my work can be found in the intrinsic qualities of the objects themselves, as both symbolic and virtual expressions. Using metaphors and symbols allows additional freedom to create unique objects that generate a life and existence of their own within the confines of conceptual and abstract-figurative art. My art is a product of ideas that communicates a strong personal message in unconventional ways.
Racine is not influenced by any particular art movement and remains true to his own vision. That may be one of the reasons I am drawn to his work, as I am with outsider art. It is highly expressive, unique, and makes me want to see more.
You can see more of Pierre Racine’s artwork on his website: http://www.pierreracine.net/