Alessandro Raho


Oil on canvas
247 x 170 cm

The painting is of my stepsister, Jessica. I have painted her a number of times, which is something I often do with my subjects. I have frequently painted close friends and family members because the interaction between artist and model is very genuine within these relationships; dressing up and trying out different things becomes as much part of the process as making the painting and it’s very comfortable with people you know well.

The clothes in this painting were not Jessica’s own. I had an idea about the painted splash that I wanted to investigate. I like realism that feels contrived, or should I say that plays with the idea of its own making, not just depicting a given reality, so inherent in its construction are various signals that acknowledge its fabrication. Choosing patterned or decorated clothes in combination with the white ‘monochrome’ background gives me a chance to make a painting that is both abstract and figurative. It is important to me that the portraits feel modern, are of our time. I want these pictorial devices to be moving, to have an emotional effect to do with painting’s artifice, as well as its capacity for description.


Born Nassau, Bahamas 1971, Alessandro Raho attended Goldsmiths College London 1991-4. Exhibitions include 'Brilliant!' Walker Art Center (WAC) Minneapolis 1994, 'Painting on the Move' Kunsthalle Basel 2002, 'Wall Rockets' FLAG Art Foundation New York 2008, 'Great Britons' Smithsonian Institution Washington DC 2007, 'Painting Show' Eastside Projects Birmingham 2011, 'Knock Knock' Jerwood Gallery Hastings 2013, 'I Cheer A Dead Man’s Sweetheart' De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill-on-Sea 2014. Has had numerous solo shows. London’s National Portrait Gallery commissioned a portrait of Dame Judi Dench, 2005. Other collections include MOMA New York, WAC Minneapolis, Seattle Museum of Art. Lund Humphries monograph published 2011.

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