Gabriele T. Raacke
Artist Statement
As an immigrant I had to learn to live and work in between worlds. Adapting to a different country, culture, and customs is a challenge and a mind opener. Through painting I connect with different times, far away places, and other worlds.
I met many of the characters who live in my paintings long ago, first listening to my parents recounting Grimm’s fairy tales, then exploring the depths of the black forest near my childhood home in Germany. Decades later, traveling and living in Africa for a few years, I came in contact with other cultures and ways to see the world. What seemed strange and exotic at first challenged my imagination and opened my mind to other beliefs.
It would be impossible for me to describe these impressions with words. But the glass on which I paint allows me to project memories of the encounters and experiences of my life’s journey for others to see.
The shiny glass pieces I use as my canvas produce a unique luminance that stems from light reflected in between layers of paint and the glass surface. I paint on the back of the glass in reverse order, foreground first and finish with the background as the last layer. This process, known as reverse painting on glass, was used in the 18th and 19th century in Germany’s black forest.
My work often features surreal reflections of reality, influenced by memories of fairy tales, a small town circus or dreams: a monkey in the village square, a woman riding a giant rooster, or a clown and a dancer flying paper airplanes.
Living ‘in between’ allows me to see what is invisible from a single vantage point which is what I try to capture in my work.
Gabriele T. Raacke
German-born artist Gabriele T. Raacke paints in various media in her East Hampton studio.
She is self-taught and works in oil and acrylic on canvas and produces collages on paper. Raacke is, however, best known for her reverse-painting-on-glass pieces which can be found in galleries in the Hamptons and private collections in the U.S. and Europe.
The shiny glass pieces that serve as her canvas produce a delicious luminance that stems from light reflected between the layers of paint and the glass surfaces. Her delightful dinner plates combine the medieval reverse-painting-on-glass technique with composition gold, copper and silver leafing, allowing them to be used at the festive table.
Her innovative work often features curious reflections of reality, influenced by her childhood memories of Grimm’s fairy tales: a bear and a ballerina dancing on a country road; a woman riding a giant rooster in the kitchen; or three generations of performers juggling eggs in a meadow.
Silhouettes of archetypical animals parade along the rim of her dinner plates: monkeys meet lizards; frogs dance with penguins before concentric cosmic backgrounds.
Ms. Raacke has shown on the East End at Arlene Bujese, Renee Fotouhi, Gayle Willson, Pamela Williams, Kramoris, Canio’s, White Room galleries, Galerie Mallory, Surface Library, Ashawagh Hall, Southampton Cultural Center, Southampton Arts Center, Guild Hall, Islip Art Museum, The Bridgehampton Museum and in Manhattan at the Work Gallery, Archetype Gallery, Bergdorf Goodman, and Two Boots in the West Village. Her work was also on display at the Hilla von Rebay Museum in Germany.
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