Christine Rasmussen's FENOMENAL series is about femininity as a force of nature—fearless, unfettered and unapologetic. Vibrant and dynamic disembodied garments hover and flow through austere urban landscapes where walls and fences constrain while windows and doors hint at opportunity. The spirited cloth shapes transcend all.
The dreamlike quality of the paintings "stretches past the paint itself, moving from observation into the abstract," reviews E.E. Jacks in Apero Catalogue. “The revelation uncoiling before the eyes is one that states the origin of this work lies somewhere beyond the obvious.”
Indeed, Rasmussen’s exploration of femininity arises from her upbringing in three different countries. Inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman,” she embraces femininity beyond the boundaries of time, place or culture. Drawing us into the landscapes – with their geometric patterns, the play of light and shadow and glimmers of something beyond – we are captivated by the remains of an extraordinary presence.
Alleyways at night time might not be where one would voluntarily stroll through to find beauty, but for the past year that was the only place where I found it. Los Angeles is a patchwork of crowded neighborhoods, rising and falling terrain, and an endless web of intertwining freeways. But in the alleyways throughout the city I have found an unpretentious world of solitary shadows, quiet scenes, and secret lives hidden amongst the busy boulevards that surround them. The shadows cast from blue fluorescent and ochre iridescent bulbs stuck to nondescript walls like abstract paintings on canvas. Often quiet and still the mood felt tense, reminiscent of a film noir.
With this series the most important element for me to create was the mood for each piece; to not only transport the viewer to where I was but to share with them the feeling I felt along my exploration. The tension between light and dark in my pieces is essential for orchestrating that quiet, reflective mood. I attempt to build a world on canvas as real as possible while giving as little information as I can letting certain details hide in shadows and transform whole houses and trees into simplified silhouettes.
When I was 10 years old my family called the police thinking they heard a burglar walking on the roof. It turned out to be a rather large raccoon. On another day we pulled up to our house to find a 6 ft long snake sunbathing in our driveway. One Halloween a small pack of coyotes followed us on our slow trek throughout the neighborhood. And for a couple of weeks in the springtime two ducks paddled in our pool more than we probably did for the whole year.
With this series I wanted to create a whimsical tribute to all of the animals who have come to visit throughout the years by making my home theirs. The house I grew up in is a 59-year-old mid-century modern house. It has floor to ceiling windows and rooms with minimal walls that gives you the feeling of being in a wide open space. This is why I have chosen to omit painting floors or ceilings in my pieces and instead let objects such as furniture, rugs, and cars build the environment instead. The brightly colored backgrounds of the paintings are specifically chosen from the colors that exist throughout my home. The juxtaposition of the animals interacting with the design of the house is a playful tension between man and nature and how we share this world (and sometimes our home) with one another.