TALES FROM THE CRYPT BY OTTO RAPP
Excerpt from the critique by
J. Brooks Joyner, Editor Visual Arts, The Albertan,
Saturday, May 29th, 1976
The exhibition is an omnipresent reincarnation of surrealist forms, attitudes and content painted what can only be termed as a magic-realist formula. Rapp capitalizes on a curious combination of dream world juxtapositions, sensuous nightmares and archetypes. His work is an apotheosis of the paranoiac-critical activity and unconscious turmoil in visual images that so delighted the surrealists.
His works are frightening, covertly symbolic and require in many cases a significant understanding of past iconographic detail in the development of Western Art.
One painting, entitled
is a frightening picture of a decomposing human scull firmly ensconed on some devilish birdcage in which the raw gore of mans physical being lies lifeless at the base. The parting flesh of the scull is secured by a tromp-loeil safety pin. This is truly an image that could have been utilized in the former issues of “Tales From The Crypt”, in fact it brings to mind in its own scary way the imaginations of Edgar Allan Poe. The poem, “The Conqueror Worm” comes to mind immediately:
But see, amid the mimic rout
One painting that seems to summarize Rapp’s attitude is his
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes! - it writhes! - with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
A large painting which includes scenes of brutality; tyranny; the soldier in various historical periods; images of Hitler; human sculls; alarming pictures of wolves; warplanes overhead and a very bold nude female figure giving birth to what appears to be a crucified figure of man. It is his visual summary of the consequences of war.
Rapp is an accomplished artist, and like so many European artists who have settled in Canada, he has a strong command of modern surrealist imagery.
(Note: J. Brooks Joyner was also Director of the Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary, and Lecturer at the University of Edmonton. Later became the Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and is currently the Director of the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska).
THE ART OF THE MYSTIC
catalogue essay by
Curator/Director, Prairie Art Gallery,
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada