Monday, 25 August 2014

Bureaucrats, Judy, and going for a walk.

For generations the lighthouse has been inextricably linked with the identity of seafaring  communities throughout Canada. Especially in the Maritimes, they marked an ongoing contribution that characterized the values of nationhood up until the transitional years of modernist Canada. They were emblematic of place identity. They were beacons of the concept that nationality is linked with being rooted in one place, that is the idea of having a community, region, a home or country. 

 Modernism and the nationhood debate altered the nature of collective identity for Canadians. The exciting and convulsive life of modernism was predicated on the concept that we were indeed placeless - a state of mind, like a country without boarders. It paved the information highway but left many casualties, including the iconic lighthouse, eventually forcing its usefulness to the sidelines with new technology and global positioning systems.

The so called postmodern world we now live in has changed our lives considerably. The terms by which authority, knowledge, navigation, community, identity and time are conceived, have been altered forever.  And so has the ethos of the lighthouse we know today.

There are not many architectural objects which still evoke such complex human emotions as the lighthouse through cultural memory. Place identity, and why the lighthouse is the new “outsider” since being declared surplus, is still a fixture for many Atlantic Canadians, as out migration continues to take its toll. 

                                              "I'm a lighthouse, it's your call."

What would happen if two artists swapped their intellectual property on the subject of the lighthouse, in the form of drawings, and then each created a work of art based on the others idea?

Laura Kenny proposed this concept to me to see what we may come up with. The rug hooking of Laura Kenny is well know in the Atlantic Canadian region, as is her character Judy, a devoted protector of all things honourable, humorous, and bizarre.

  So here's what we did.

Study for: Timber - The Bureaucrat's Line, Steven Rhude

Timber - The Bureaucrat's Line, Rug Hooking,  31.5" x 12.5",Laura Kenny

Study for: Judy Takes Her Lighthouse For a Walk, Laura Kenny

Judy Takes Her Lighthouse For a Walk, o/p, 24" x 20", Steven Rhude

These are just a few of the works to be included in "I'm a Lighthouse, it's your call.", a two person show by Laura Kenny and Steven Rhude - paintings and rug hooking at Harvest Gallery, Wolfville, NS.

Opening October 18th, 2014. For more information contact Harvest Gallery (see link at top of page)

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Friday, 15 August 2014

To the Lighthouse

Reaching Brigus Light, oil on canvas, 40" x 60", Steven Rhude

“...she took her hand and raised her brush. For a moment it stayed trembling in a painful but exciting ecstacy in the air. Where to begin?--that was the question at what point to make the first mark? One line placed on the canvas committed her to innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately complex; as the waves shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by steep gulfs, and foaming crests. Still the risk must run; the mark made.”

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Lighthouse Keeper

The Lighthouse Keeper, o/p, 20.5" x 43.5", Steven Rhude

Idealized beauty In Italian Renaissance Portraiture

"The women pictured in the profiled portraits of the Italian Renaissance were not portrayed as individuals, but as ideal women who shares similar facial features with the sitter. Examples of desired physical traits include a high, rounded forehead, plucked eyebrows, blonde hair, fair skin, rosy cheeks, ruby lips, white teeth, dark eyes, and graceful hands."

 - from Mary Rogers, "The Decorum of Women Beauty: Trissino, Firenzulo, Luiginni, and the Representation of Women in 16th Century Painting" Renaissance Studies, 1988  

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Cape Spear Modern

Cape Spear Modern, Dyptych, oil on board, 24" x 32", Steven Rhude

Cape Spear has two lighthouses. The one depicted here is cast in concrete. It contains the personality of modernism through materials, efficiency, minimal design and engineering. Its aesthetics speak of strength and form through simplicity. It is a beacon without habitation. A utilitarian object only. Automated in presence, it contains no keeper but that of technology.

The buoy, though similar in shape to a lighthouse, contains not a precast directive, but a hand carved willfulness of design. It is as though there is a concept within the wood waiting to emerge with the skills of shape, form, and colour imparted by it's maker.

However, there is another lighthouse at Cape Spear. Equally modern, yet classical in its combination of habitation and  utilization. A wood frame structure with a dome shaped lantern. The shape and personality of the old light echos the keeper's history.

  A future study of this facility is in the making.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Friday, 1 August 2014

Stairway, Cape Spear

Stairway, Cape Spear, oil on panel, 35" x 24", StevenRhude
This work is for an up coming show in October with Laura Kenny (rug hooker) at Harvest Gallery in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The show is based on lighthouses. More information to follow.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville