By Joesph Tarrab
Painting is a mirror . The painter is a woman.
When, weary of pursuing the reflections of her face along the routes of the world, she turns round that mirror upon herself, she discovers her true face, the face concealed by her mask or her make-up, the face that emerges from the depths within, in this conversion from the figurative to the abstract, the formal to the informal, from design to colour, only through the act of painting.
Not any act, though: an act that, moved by emotion, manages to bring it to the light of day and canvas pure enough to enable it to induce an emotion in counterpoint, not quite the same, not quite another, a shifted emotion that, reverberating in alien minds, arouses in them surreptitiously hitherto unsuspected intimations and resonances.
Painting is an endoscope of the looker-on as much as of the painter.
It awakens and unveils in him/her still dormant affective riches and emotional resources, stimulates untapped aptitudes to react positively to the invation of his/her visual field by waves of shapes-colours that convert directly into jubilant ebbs and flows.
Painting is a jubulation.
That inner exultance is probably the best touch-stone of the creative act, the act of extracting the gem out of its gangue, and of the perceptual act that, out of this first gem, extracts a multitude of other gems.
Painting is a perpetual creation-perception spiral.
A creative perception generates a perceptual creation that generates a new creative perception that generates afresh a perceptual creation.
That virtually unceasing reciprocal interplay comes to an end when the artwork is completed only to restart at once as soon as it reaches the sensitive receptors of the looker-on.
By painting, I mean here Rana Raouda’s: see for yourself how her shapes-colours sprawl and overlap, dark layers upon clear layers: how a first coating invites a second that summons up a third; how the ascending and descending patterns magnetize each other at a distance; how the values and differential saturations of the brush strokes produce a living tension within the same colour range; how the light springs forth and spreads from the bottom to the surface, from the transparent underlying strata to the opaque upper ones; how it outlines the irregularly shaped areas; how it traps itself in windows to magnify its own intensity.
To Rana Raouda, painting is a window: a game of defenestrating reality and refenestrating the canvas.
From the semi-figurative “Arles”: (1992) in which the windows are laid out in an almost purely plastic way, to “Supersosés Lumineux”: and “Light on my Fingertips” (1999) though “ Les Voiliers” and “ Window on a Poppy Field” ( 1997), the paintings printed herein are built according to the principles of a sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit fenestration.
Rectangles, square, even irregular shapes are windows, fenestrae, symbols of a two-way passage between two orders of reality, the inner side whence the light wells up, and the outer side where the darkness lies.
At the outset, easel-painting was a fictitious window, an opening in the wall onto an imaginary world.
At a time when its demise is vainly proclaimed again and again, it takes on here the guise of a paradoxical metaphor of itself by espousing that universal fenestrating procedure.
Painting is a self-metaphor.
By letting in through her windows now the light, now the darkness, always the gazing eye, always the emotions of life and art, Rana Raouda paints painting, nothing more, nothing less.
Painting is a window overlooking painting.
Painting is a mirror of painting.