Observing the body of realist paintings by Malcolm Rae in his first solo show in a decade, “At Long Last”, opening at Doongalik Studios on Thursday, February 20th, viewers may wonder what they have been missing. Reflected in The Artist Malcolm’s watercolor seascapes, landscapes and figures is a new reality within our existing world, accessible only through his particular translation from his eye to the canvas.
“I firmly believe that artists see the world differently—I see things and wonder why other people can’t, so then I paint it,” says The Artist Malcolm. “I believe artists should be painting what people don’t see—capturing the spirit of the world before you.”
The Artist Malcolm is a well-known staunch supporter of realism, both in his practice and in his own studio and exhibition space Stingrae Studios, which offers a much-needed refuge for contemporary artists engaged with the practice today.
Behind his realist motivations lies the pervasive dismissal of the craft that all contemporary realist artists struggle with today—do paintings capturing the beauty of a landscape or its diverse people fade into the background in today’s art world? Or do they offer, in their still and mighty beauty, a new perspective to open the eyes of their viewers to the world around them?
In The Artist Malcolm’s case, the answer lies in his stunning portfolio of work, developed over his life-long love affair with the country since he moved to Nassau in 1958 with his parents. Despite the lack of gallery spaces on the island, The Artist Malcolm continued to paint, draw, and exhibit, inspired by the beauty around him. He also learned how to capture the human figure through interacting with cadavers during his medical studies—a field he eventually left behind.
His resulting body of work stands as the best argument against realism’s supposed redundancy—they offer in themselves a particularly engaging translation of realism through careful compositions and experimentation with stylistic departures such as pointillism and simultaneous contrast, ultimately highlighting overlooked everyday beauty.
“The Bahamas is so beautiful, why not capture it?” says The Artist Malcolm. “I hear people say that you can’t paint a sunset every day. Why not? A sunset is different every day, and I see no problem with sharing that. The biggest shame is that the very people who live here never seem to notice.”
On a deeper level, The Artist Malcolm’s pieces offer both pause and refuge for viewers disillusioned with a current world destroyed in the name of progress. His glimpses of the natural beauty of the landscape invite a bittersweet nostalgia for things we have lost and a fierce recommitment to our beloved home before the remains slip out of our grasp, available only to visit in the very art pieces before us.
“I paint the beauty of The Bahamas before we destroy it,” says The Artist Malcolm. “It’s a disappointing thought, but there’s almost nothing about The Bahamas left, especially here. It’s very difficult now to find something to paint here in Nassau.”
“I hope my paintings inspire nostalgia and inspire us to wake up,” he adds. “If we don’t focus on the past, we will lose the vision of it, the beauty of it, the sacredness of it.”
‘At Long Last’ will be on display at #20 Village Road until Friday March 7. For further information please contact the Gallery at telephone 394-1886, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by: Sonia Farmer