Sunday, 30 March 2014


Make and Break Harbour (tri-image), oil on canvas, 36" x 60", Steven Rhude

"as soon as each hour of one's life has died, it embodies itself in some material object as do the souls of the dead in certain folk stories, and hides there. There it remains captive forever, unless we should happen on the object, recognize what lies within, call it by its name, and so set it free."

Marcel Proust, By way of Saint - Beuve (translated by Sylvia Townsend Warner)

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Quinlan's Oar

Quinlan's Oar, Red Head Cove, o/c, 34" x 53", Steven Rhude

As I see it, there is a modern vitality of shape and form to the boat and oar, the buoy, the shed, and the lighthouse. Qualities both abstract and figurative. Ironic, since these objects predate modernism by centuries. So in them, there is a sense of the minimal before the minimalist. Modern before the modernist. Formal before the formalist. Their maker’s intent wasn’t to create something beautiful; more like something utilitarian. However, it just so happens their intent was beautifully realized.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sibley's Cove

Sibley's Cove, oil on canvas, 19" x 28", Steven Rhude

Origin of the word Population

late 16th century (denoting an inhabited place): from late Latin populatio(n-), from the verb populare, from populus 'people'.

Sibley's Cove, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

Sibley's Cove is usually considered to include Torquay (pronounced tarquay), a cluster of houses on the East End of the cove. It is believed that the cove was probably named after a migrating fisherman.
1874 – Sibley’s Cove (combined with Lead Cove) first appears on the Census with a population of 61.
1884 – The population is listed as 93.
1891 – One vessel leaves Sibley’s Cove for the Labrador Fishery.
1895 – The first school is built and kept by Isaac March of Brownsdale.
1899 – A Methodist Chapel is built.
1942 – An Orange Hall is constructed.
1957 – A government wharf is constructed for the inshore fishermen.
1992 - Newfoundlanders protest Cod Moratorium
2011 - The population of Sibley's Cove is now considered in combination with New Chelsea, New Melbourne, Brownsdale and Lead Cove - all unincorporated fishing communities. The combined population for these five communities is 503. This is a 7% decline from 2006 (541).

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Leaving Lead Cove

"It's not down on any map; true places never are."
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Leaving Lead Cove, oil on canvas, 19" x 28", Steven Rhude

The aesthetic of many a contemporary opinion is often couched in opposites. The Newfoundland landscape and its romantic depiction for instance, may be seen as an infectious blight for some. Typified as comforting images of the landscape, artists and viewers are often bombarded with, and marginalised by, the generalisation of what may or may not be the "quintessential" expression of their land.

 For some, the depiction of a lone granite rock (erratic) on a windswept barren, could be seen as quaint; a well trodden subject offered up as comfort food at the expense of tougher subjects like power lines or satellite dishes. My experience is that this view is at best antiquated. Anyone who has walked some barrens in Newfoundland should understand the gravitational pull of something ancient with resonance. Icons take on a presence with time, not just with in contemporaneity. Our desire to capture this is not in any way conventional.

However, traversing Newfoundland means considering that yellow ribbon dissecting the land, an object as modernist as a Mondrian painting. There are times when I know I'm in Newfoundland, geographically bound by maps that help me navigate my ideas around this land in a car, armed with drawing books, camera, note books, and pens and pencils. But other times there is a leave-taking of sorts. It could be a road in northern Ontario, or a suburb just over the hill, instead of Conception Bay. This is the illusion of place, and our desire to at times transcend the material. Not a very post modern objective to say the least. But for the painter there are no maps for this kind of logic, and they didn't teach it in art college.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS