Rai Escale: Seeking the Hidden Material

Rai Escale is a prominent visual artist who prefers to be known as a painter. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he tries to seek and find hidden images which are superimposed by other hidden images. Images of objects and how one’s mind perceives these images depend on not just what one has learned, but on how these images have hidden meanings within unconscious. The image of a whirring table fan isn’t just that, and it could be the sound of a hundred men churned by industrial blades. The red rose may not be a symbol of love but could have a hidden meaning of blood that once flowed down the forehead after a fall.

These images and hidden meanings do not necessarily have to be learned, but could stem from the unconscious, which of course is a mystery. The hidden meanings of objects and images are deeply personal and are as subjective as the pain of an animal that can’t speak. Though hidden meanings and associations need not be negative and disturbing always, mind does contain a lot of darkness within which surfaces to the conscious time to time.

Carl Jung suggested one accept these subconscious images as they entered the conscious level instead of judging them. He believed that accepting these unconscious images could help in analysis in what he called Automatism. Images that surface in our conscious are usually filtered and what we perceive or feel is rarely what the hidden unconscious meanings are. These abstract realities and surreal dimensions are usually interpreted through art, when the images are exposed ion the canvas, in the sculpture and in the words one writes.

These creative and artistic outbursts usually help in understanding the meaning of objects and images within one’s subconscious and at a later stage, the collective conscious. Surreal artists usually employ this method to reveal unconscious material on the canvas in their raw form, which could be analyzed later. Rai Escale does not use scissors or computers and uses raw and rough paint to create art that comes from a deeply personal insight. He sometimes uses glue, though his work cannot be categorized under collage.  His work involves the study of human face, which is perhaps the most enigmatic of all things that have been created.

Human face can reveal and hide things that neither the owner nor the observer can sometimes understand. It is this quality of human face being the canvas of deepest emotions, feelings and unconscious material which makes Rai paint portraits. These faces and the emotions that are reflected on the human faces reveal the subjective realities and the million and odd realities that each person lives with, each moment. The layered reality, Dada, Pop, and Surrealism have been some of the themes of his work at different points during his career. Of course, an artist would never claim allegiance to any “isms” and rightfully so.

Rai Escale’s paintings can be shockingly disturbing, for that his how mind is. The horror inducing unconscious images and meanings are imposed upon the canvas while he tries to explore his own mind deeper and further. The violence in his paintings may be personal but they come from the collective conscious shared by each human being, inherited by one’s human and animal ancestors. Violence and the need for sex have been the driving force of man’s deeds and actions. Rai Escale‘s art alternates between shocking and disturbing and imposes layered and subjective realities on the viewer. His paintings are deeply insightful and could be helpful in the self-journey of the viewer.


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