Anne Carney Raines’ artistic journey began in her hometown, Nashville, Tennessee. Her mother, a talented watercolor painter, encouraged her to develop her skills throughout her childhood. Raines obtained her BFA from Indiana University in Bloomington and had the chance to work as a scenic painter for a production company in Nashville. Her work is visually influenced by her job experience but her practice reflects on time, the human mind and nostalgia. Raines is currently pursuing her MA at Royal College of Art in London.
Raine’s use of hyperrealistic floors and shadows give the impression of depth that will make the viewer question where the painting really begins. The point of departure of her current body of work began as she first moved to London and reminisced on her southern roots.
MAD54: Can you tell us about what inspired you to paint “Far Out”?
ACR: When I painted “Far Out” I was focusing a lot on domestic spaces. I had just moved to London and I was thinking about home a lot, missing family and things like that. It was in this painting that I really started to explore the use of the theatre curtain and playing with the idea of creating a painting within a painting and using this type of layered reality. I started thinking about painting as somebody else within my work. The paintings that would follow and originate from “Far Out” are the murals.
When looking at Raines' murals, one can’t help but to question: When are these scenes taking place? Are they set in the present, past or future? In these works, the most recognizable theme is layers of walls and rooms going increasingly further into to the painting. Raines' pays an enormous amount of attention when painting detailed hardwood floors. She connects these to her childhood and family roots as well as to her experience as a scenic painter in the theatre world.
MAD54: What do these multi-layered murals represent to you?
ACR: My murals represent transitional, empty spaces. As I painted them I had the idea that these had been previously inhabited but had been emptied or abandoned. When I work on them I try to step out of myself and think of each layer as to being painted by a different person. It is a way for me to paint and step outside myself.
“The layers are like the mind. There is always a kind of escape room, and each room expands into another room and then goes down a hatch. It is a never ending sort of thing.”
Raines talks about trying to capture various moments in time within each of her works. She explores the idea of each layer within her murals to be the work of a different person at a different point in time.The layers of walls and rooms in her works “Remember the 60 Hour Work Week 1 & 2” include what can be described as shadows of human bodies. The title of these works make reference to author Ursula K. Le Guin where she talks about the carrier bag as the first cultural device. Le Guin argues that in the time of the hunters and gatherers, it was the story the hunters got to tell what really mattered, not necessarily the hunting. Their needs were already met by gathering fruits, seeds and insects and the work that was required to meet their nutritional needs in a week could be completed in just 15 hours. The title of these paintings is a play on words, capturing life before the pandemic and how people were always on the go and commuting to and back from work.
Raines' work offers almost a window to how future generations might be able to observe our very present moment and reality. Her paintings represent the relationship between time and space and the struggles of the human mind in relation to memory.
Anne Carney Raines is currently an exhibiting artist at the group show “Staying @live” at MAPA Fine Art, make sure to check it out!