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
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.