Amanda Rackowe is an English-born artist, based in the Dordogne, France since 2006.
Born in 1964 in Oxfordshire, Rackowe demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for drawing and painting as a child, winning several school and college art competitions, in which her unusual choice of subject matter often cause controversy between judges and the public alike.
Although successful in her youth, Rackowe decided to pursue a career in theatre lighting and later in architectural lighting design. Throughout these years and subsequently bringing up a large family, she continued to paint. Drawing inspiration from her career, Rackowe’s take on her work was to ‘paint with light’; a concept that has become one of the influential factors in her painting.
Moving with her family to rural France in 2006, Rackowe became inspired by the light and expansive skies of the Dordogne region. At a young age, she had fallen upon the painting ‘Christina’s World’ by American artist, Andrew Wyeth – an early discovery that brought about an appreciation for sparse and open landscapes. The combination of these influential elements can be found in Rackowe’s work; appearing in her portrayal of the local landscapes near her home.
A grain silo has become a reoccurring element and subject of many of her paintings, which has enabled her to explore the effects of the changing light and seasons on the landscapes and skies surrounding it. In many of her stark landscapes, she poses reminders of a human presence; perhaps a lone figure or a vehicle with illuminated headlamps standing in direct contrast to the natural light. The echoes of Man are never far away in Rackowe’s work; distant horizons punctured by material elements, such as electricity pylons and wind generators, silos and telegraph poles.
The diminishing perspective of the roads in Rackowe’s works, interpret a sense of continuation… carrying a slight disquiet, reflecting our uncertainty as to where this road will lead us. For Rackowe, this is a comment on our lives, a story never told with an unknown finale.
The roads of the Aquitaine landscape soon took Rackowe to other places; into the city of Bordeaux, where the brutalist architecture, modernist bridges and Corbusier influenced buildings gave her the aspiration to find a new way to depict the scenes before her, many of which are often unconsidered in the blinkered vision of daily life. Here, the theme of isolation concurs within the crowded life of the city, hinted at amongst the concrete structures and hidden lives.
Rackowe’s work depicts fleeting glances, captured instances where we are both observers and the observed; participants and onlookers; unknown witnesses of each other’s lives; closely related and yet so distantly unconnected. These transient moments leave us questioning our present role and that of the future… an unfinished story. However, in these depictions, we are disconcertingly collaborating with the scene before us.
It is in this way that Rackowe intrigues and invites you to enter her world.