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george rahme

Leach, 2010, 12 x 24 in, paper collage (detail)

It employs various techniques that endow all things with a deeper meaning and reveal mysteries that always threaten the secure tranquility of simple and ingenuous things.... it is a question of representing before our eyes, in an intuitive way, the fact, the interior figure, of the exterior world. -Franz Roh, 1925

George Rahme's canvases explore themes surrounding the bucolic activities of "the common man," paying homage to the work of fishermen, hunters, and ancient explorers. In his native Detroit, George Rahme is a scavenger for abandoned works on paper, many of them Bruegel-esque in tone. He collages layers of found images on a single canvas, then digs away at them to reveal hidden imagery and create new relationships between his source materials. The finished canvas reintroduces 19th-century landscapes intertwined with contemporary imagery, blending in such a way that makes the juxtaposition appear perfectly natural.

Rahme follows in the tradition of magic realism. The critic Franz Roh detected the birth of the movement in the 1920s and described it as process of revealing “interior mysteries” rather than hyperbolizing the external world. Rahme’s real-life interior consists of Detroit’s ghostly museums—abandoned buildings and train stations adopted as palimpsestic canvases, written and rewritten by Detroit artists.

Born in Lansing, Michigan to Lebanese immigrant parents, Rahme attended the College for Creative Studies in his hometown and graduated with High Honors in 2007. In addition to being a visual artist, he is an accomplished DJ and musician who has released records, toured Europe and the US, and makes frequent appearances in the thriving Detroit underground scene.