Rob Raeside’s Stately Playground: Artist Profile by Stewart Britton
What makes Raeside’s art so special is that it can deliver to everyone the joys of geometric abstraction—the kind that impels mathematicians to call a formula beautiful for its simplicity and clarity—with a childlike hunger for life. It’s hard to believe at first glance that these pure, elegant forms are made by a big kid. The closer you look, though, the playfulness really shines through. With these clean contours you might think you’re escaping the messy world because you’re not being reminded of anything, but given time these forms start to grip onto life and show off the light around all the twists and tangles.
Born an artist in Brockville, Ontario and raised an artist in Kitchener, Ontario, Raeside has always been equal parts contemplative and off-the-wall. Look through his VHS collection and you’ll see this fusion of sophistication and silliness in the best possible senses. Mystic River and Weekend at Bernie’s come to mind.
His enthusiasm for glass was sparked in Italy where he saw the old masters in Murano. He threw on some tinder with glass blowing classes at Fleming College, then kindling and full blown fuel at Sheridan. Let me tell you, Raeside’s art throws off plenty of light and heat. That’s his art—restrained energy. The wild frontier spirit only balanced, barely, by the rigour of his style and craft. He crafts a place to wonder, wander, and play.
You can find this glass artist and his objects at the Kingston Glass Studio. There you can also see the performance art, the kinetic beauty, of watching the fluidity and perfect timing of his creative process and technique.