Gavin Rain

Gavin Rain
23.03.1971 (Cape Town)



Gavin Rain was born in Cape Town on 23 March 1971. He studied Art and Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town in the 80’s and 90’s. Rain has been painting his whole life, but started with pointillism around 2003/2004. He is influenced by Seurat, Russian avant garde art of the 1900’s and many architects.  Earlier in his live, he planned to study architecture, to try and combine his two interests: art and mathematics.

Artworks and technique
Up close, Rain’s paintings consist of small concentric dots painted in different colors of acrylic paint. From a distance your eye puts these colors together into one. The further the viewer steps back, the more clear the portrait becomes. 
He starts his paintings by making a sketch of the portrait he wants to paint. To decide the place of the dots on the canvas, he either uses a grid, made of strings, or projection. The grid takes about ten hours to make, but is more accurate then using projection, so Rain still uses both techniques. Then he picks the colors for the final dots. He starts by deciding the final color that he wants a dot to be and starts working backwards. Rain has a list of 14.000 different dots that he has made. Out of this list, he picks the combination that creates the color he wants. 

Another important part of the technique is changing each dot size. The white canvas Rain uses as a background means that the smaller the dot, the more white background around it.  So the bigger the dots, the darker an area gets and the smaller the dots, the lighter the area becomes. This, combined with the distant final color each dot makes is how the image is created. However, the colors of separate dots will merge together into a new color as well. So, it's not just each dot but also a combination of dots that makes the color. 

Rain’s objective is to broaden people’s visual and cognitive horizons by showing them the fantastic and impossible. By combining his origins, his studies, aptitudes and personal talent, Rain has invented an art that is both unique and participative so that all who look at one of his paintings can perceive the convergence of two opposing pictorial styles: the abstractness of the multitude of colorful concentric circles that thicken into dense and imperfect dots in relief, and the figurative aspect of the image that is defined by the sum of these same dots as the viewer takes a few steps back.
It is precisely in this backing-off that the artist’s intended message lies: in order to acquire awareness of something that is concealed yet right in front of your eyes, or hidden in plain sight, you must distance yourself by moving backwards.  His art is a clear invitation to ‘back off’, to create some distance in life as well, because as Gestalt psychology sustains, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We must view the big picture, the whole, without worrying about isolated events or individual points of view.


2015 Gavin Rain, Catalogue 2015, On demand Editions, Italy 2015.
2013 Francesco Elisei & Fabio Anselmi eds., SUPERNATURAL, Pavilion of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, 55th Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte La Biennale di Venezia. Turin 2013, p. 92 - 101.


2018 - Mix & Match, SmithDavidson Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2018 - ZonaMaco, SmithDavidson Gallery, Mexico city, Mexico

2018 - Art New York, SmithDavidson Gallery, USA

2018 - Art Palm Beach, SmithDavidson Gallery, USA

2017 - Art Miami, SmithDavidson Gallery, USA

2017 - PAN Amsterdam, SmithDavidson Gallery, The Netherlands

2017 - Modern Masters, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA

2017 - Time Suspended II, SmithDavidson Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2017 - Art New York, New York City, USA

2017 - County Day School, Miami, USA

2017 - Zona Maco, Mexico City, Mexico

2017 - Solo: SmithDavidson Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2016 - Summer Loving, SmithDavidson Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2016 - The Armory Show , SmithDavidson Gallery, New York, USA

2015 - Global Art Exhibition, SmithDavidson Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2014 - Solo: ’From a Distance', SmithDavidson Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2014 - Nassau Museum, Long Island New York, USA

2013 - Supernaturalism, Bangladesh Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

2011 - Costa Rica pavillion, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

2009 - African Wave exhibition II, Venice, Italy

2009 - African Wave exhibition I, Trieste, Italy

2009 - Cityscapes, WorldArt gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2006 - Group exhibition: in the Flesh!, KKNK, South Africa




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