We love the trippy beautiful art of Australian artist Joel Rae. Surrealism is a tough row to hoe these days. Art tends toward abstraction or hyper personal. After Warhol, Johns, and Rauschenberg it’s hard to be a surrealist. Leave it to an Australian to juxtapose life, fantasy, and art in unique and interesting ways. Australia strikes me as a land of few pretensions and even fewer Madison Avenue aspirations.
The Tiger on the Streetcorner
Rae’s paintings suggest as much. My favorite is the tiger on the street corner but other paintings resonate too. Rae’s tiger collides Fischl’s strange suburban moments with Alex Katz love of group scenes and Bleckner’s light. The naked child running away from the tiger is Fishl-like. Rae’s running naked boy to prompts viewers to look up. Rae wants viewers to look at the majestic yet abused tiger.
By placing nature in such precarious surroundings Rae makes an environmental statement. We wonder if some day seeing a tiger on a street corner will prompt any wonder, joy, or connection. Some viewers appear already bored with the tiger’s beauty and majesty. Boredom even with the majestic isn’t hard to imagine. When the world comes in so fast and in so many ways boredom, habituation, and cynicism become the default.