ROSEGALLERY is pleased to present These Precious Days, a solo exhibition of paintings by Sooki Raphael, on view from 10 April until 10 May, 2021.
Sooki Raphael leaves her canvas as colorful as she has led her life. With many creative endeavors —- from clothing to ceramics to a long career in the film industry — Raphael has contributed to numerous projects, busily attending to the arts through a multiplicity of avenues. After a 2018 diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, Raphael turned her focus toward painting, using her colorful palette as an “expression of a renewal of spirit and life” as she healed alongside the scorched landscape of the Malibu and Topanga hills.
Raphael painted the works on view over the last three years in her Topanga home and in the Nashville home of author Ann Patchett, with whom she weathered the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. In the eponymous piece for Harper’s Magazine, These Precious Days, Patchett tells of how she first met Raphael backstage at an event with actor Tom Hanks and, entranced by her velvet coat and kind demeanor, began a close friendship through continued email correspondences. In early 2020, Raphael was invited by Patchett to stay with her as she received treatment in Nashville, but as the pandemic quickly arose, the two friends suddenly found themselves in a prolonged pandemic pod. Throughout those interminable, quiet days, Patchett admired Raphael as she brought the outside world to her canvas with striking color,
The paintings came from a landscape of dreams, pattern on pattern, impossible colors leaning into one another. She painted her granddaughter striding through a field of her own imagination, she painted herself wearing a mask, she painted me walking down our street with such vividness that I realized I had never seen the street before… There was no hesitation on the canvases, no timidity. She had transferred her life into brushwork, impossible colors overlapping, the composition precariously and perfectly balanced. The paintings were bold, confident, at ease.
Raphael’s paintings capture landscapes, interior spaces, animals, and portraits with a vibrancy that the artist describes as a “delicious and direct way to explore the intense colors that I live in.” In these works, Raphael invites the viewer to experience the joy and electric spirit of one’s surroundings through the artist’s own open eyes and vivid brushstrokes.