Rawle’s research explores the way in which photography, collage, model-making, and typographical experimentation can be combined to create an uncanny series of images that articulate and transform the well-known literary narrative of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Building on ideas first explored in his collage novel Woman’s World, Rawle uses familiar objects and images to deconstruct the popular imagery associated with the 1939 MGM film and create a new and uncanny reimagining of Baum’s novel.
Having undertaken a close reading of both Baum’s texts and the MGM film, Rawle looked at moments in Baum’s text where illustration could be used to open up the narrative and to challenge previous renderings. Focusing in particular on the parts of the story that had not featured in the MGM film, Rawle’s images complicate the single and authorial narrative voice of Baum’s original text, providing multiple perspectives on the action. His focus on detail and background adds to this effect by drawing the reader into the pictures and instilling them with a sense of place as well as space.
Employing collage and assemblage techniques, Rawle creates a series of staged tableaux that are then photographed and digitally enhanced to give his images a sense of depth and magical quality. By mixing the familiar and the fantastic and by rendering familiar objects disturbing, Rawle’s images connect Freud’s writings on the uncanny with the fantastic and psychological narrative of Baum’s text to create a series of surreal, uncanny ‘mise-en-scène’.
Consisting of over 100 images, Rawle’s work has been featured in international exhibitions. Rawle has also given talks, conference presentations, interviews and artist talks at events that include the International Wizard of Oz Convention (California, 2010), West Cork Literary Festival (2009) and the Art and Narrative Symposium (University of East London, 2008).