AN ARTIST'S ROAD to self-discovery is a winding path, a jumble of detours littered with futile attempts. Rasmussens search for direction was no different. His conundrum was this: how would he be able to recapture all those missing years of growth?
The earliest efforts after re-starting his career focused on paintings of trees (Jim Dines canvases on this subject provided inspiration). Eventually, the evolution of eye-hand coordination and a need to simplify, transformed the realistic renderings of trunks and bare branches into abstractions of swirls and slashesthe trees became graffiti.
These gestures associated with action painting, and a desire to communicate messages beyond the purely aesthetic, soon prompted the inclusion of words (Cy Twomblys paintings done during his early years in Rome were eye-openers).
At this time, oil was Rasmussens medium of choice, often diluted with thinner in order to create the transparent effects he strives for (the word palimpsest, which describes the faint appearance of older images beneath newer, applies to the paintings that result from Rasmussens tendency to work on top of previously-painted canvases). For this reason he used squeegees to apply and distribute the paint; letters and other markings were drawn with oil sticks.
In 2009, Rasmussen switched to acrylic, mainly because this medium allows shorter drying time and thus proves to better fit the rapid, impulsive rhythm of his technique. Psychologically, as he searched for richer meaning, he dove deeper into his subconscious, the focus now changing to expressions of emotions such as nostalgia, pain, and even anger (directed toward aspects of society he considers false and abominable).
As Rasmussen continues his work with subjects of protest, he is also probing other directions, delving into childhood memories in such works as Roads to Rimbo and Battle of Poltava. Throughout his career, starting with his early efforts in the mid-1960s, he has professed his belief in the gesture and its ability to express the subliminal.
The paintings in this section of the book illustrate some of Rasmussens various phases of development during the past five years, beginning with his latest work.