In 1992 Lorraine Rastorfer completed a Master of Fine Arts with first class honours at Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts. Since then she has won countless top New Zealand art awards, her work is held in many prestigious collections including Chapman Tripp, Spark, Auckland Institute of Architects and James Wallace Arts Trust, as well as private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, America and Austria.
Rastorfer explores the nature of painting, the contradictions inherent in the painted surface and the role of serendipity in the creation of her works. Drawing on the history of abstraction, Rastorfer challenges the flatness of the painted surface and the materials she uses. Her layered mark-making creates depth where there is none and movement of a static medium on a fixed plane. The vagaries of transience and chance have occupied Rastorfer for a number of years and she uses painterly gesture combined with ‘visual incidents’ to create works that appear to capture a single moment in time.
Each painterly comb and flourish across the surface provides part of the pattern, depth and balance of the completed work. Rastorfer looks for the dynamics within the paint medium, investigating the same process over and over again with small graduated differences exploring the permutations of possibility and chance. For her each painting is the emergent variation of the one that preceded it. The same tools and techniques are applied to each work. What differs is the colour and the gesture, the way the paint responds, the tonal variations, the texture.
In Rastorfer’s words, “I work with the fluidity, viscosity, opacity and transparency of paint, and a variety of mark-making tools that I have designed myself. I seek a sense of ordered freedom, a unified variety of rhythms and streams. My process is very absorbing, and I sometimes feel like a Zen monk ritually raking a material in a kind of working meditation. I hope the meditative spirit is conveyed to viewers and that the paintings will lure some into a contemplative space.”