Artist JP Rakehorn Gives Us His Rub, Sweat and Smears


Elegantly rendered hands in charcoal and white conté recall 15th century Renaissance sketches by Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Rather than resting idle in sepia-toned space, the hands rove, grasp, explore pleasure and express a multiplicity of touch and caresses over time.

“Sex is about the loss of time and space,” artist JP Rakehorn says of his solo exhibit: Rub, Sweat and Smears on display at Sin City Gallery in the Arts Factory through May 31.

Figures and encounters are adrift upon indeterminate space—consumed by passion specificity falls away. In place of location, the backgrounds of most works are filled with rich mark making—trailing lines of charcoal, scribbled white, splatters of water, the ring of a cup stain, ink washes, bits of text—clouding yet amplifying the erotic gestures and creating a layered history of touch built up over time. Erased, redrawn and added to over many months, the work has an unfinished quality. Repetitive touch mimics the repeat encounters of lovers. Perpetually in process, the intimate moment will go on forever.

Rising out of the milieu of texture, exquisite details emerge such as the slick glimmer of black boot, rumpled highlights on tight fabric, mouths kissing or the delicate cobweb of a stocking.

“This is what my life is like,” Rakehorn says. “It’s messy and dirty but it’s got these gleaming little bits of loveliness.”

Vegas Seven