Oscar Rabin, Rural landscape

Born in Moscow in 1928 and orphaned at the age of four, Oscar Rabin was later adopted by Evgeni Kropivnitsky, whose daughter Valentina he later married. From 1940 to 46 he spent his time in Riga studying music and drawing at the Academy of Arts. Subsequently he studied at the Surikov Art lnstitute in Moscow but was expelled for his unorthodox views. From 1958 to 1967 he combined painting with work in an arts and design centre and since 1967 he has earned a living by painting alone. He was the "spirit" behind the "Group of Lianozovo" , named after the settlement where he lived, just outside Moscow.

Expelled from the USSR in 1978, Oscar Rabin suffers from a loss of his roots and what could have been a normal life, and his work reflects the duality between the difficulty of living far from Russia and the necessity of adapting to another culture. He is slowly learning about France, above all about Paris, which he paints in order to make it more manageable, with a force which comes from within and which brings ardour, impetuosity, and emotion to his compositions.

It seems that in his pictorial wanderings Rabin still experiences again and again the deep bitterness which the countenance of his country forcefully thrusts upon him, and when he evokes Paris, is it not Moscow which he remembers and feels?

The vigorous still lifes whose objects are encircled by thick dark strokes are followed by compositions of a more expressionistic harsher nature, made up of fractured touches of the brush: images of a world falling into ruin.

Rabin's hand, eminently personal, is not borrowed from any one style, or any one school, but tightly unites reality and imagination. Dense matter is presented with nervous touches, a very finely modulated palette; the earth colours, the blues, the muted reds, which highlight the transparencies, and a light coming from the horizon, give a quasi mystical dimension to these paintings in which resonate the profundities of the human condition.

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