Mark Kavanagh Rasher


RASHER was born Mark Kavanagh in Bray, just outside Dublin. Rejected by every art school in the capital, he launched himself with a series of self-mounted shows in his local area. All focused on his main theme, the human figure, with particular emphasis on distorted faces and heads. He then held a successful one-man exhibition in Dublin, was profiled in the Sunday Independent and appeared on the Late Late Show. 

In the summer 2000, he moved to the Oisín Gallery, causing a stir with his father-and-son portraits of vaguely Mediterranean looking men, appearing haggard and lost against a stark, harshly sunny landscape. Some of his figures were based loosely on snapshots and sketches, others on memories of the characters, local and foreign, spotted walking the Bray seafront adjacent to his studio.

Recently he has painted fish-eye-lens views of dissolution, drunkenness and solitude. Some involved female figures, others dolls and mannequins, a favourite Rasher motif.

At times Rasher's work plunges into the messiness of the physical and the carnal; at times it turns its back on such matters, letting a plaster dummy stand in for the human. With his peculiar alchemy, however, he manages to imbue these plaster creatures with human qualities. His human figures, meanwhile, seem afraid to exhibit any great emotion or neediness. This, of course, serves only to remind us of their vulnerability, and of our own.

Rasher lives and works in his native Bray, Co. Wicklow.