Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Otherness of Caplin Cove

Portrait of Caplin Cove, Nfld, oil on board, 30" x 48", Steven Rhude


                                                               The Otherness of Things




"Reflected on the surface of the pencil is also the inherited and entangled history for his father's care for this important, and perhaps useful object. There is a certain intimacy suggested. He sharpened it by hand, tactfully. The surface suggests he touched it often in his work. The history to their exposure to each other seems clearly visible - they remember each other in their flesh. Indeed, it seems that he felt, in a certain sense, obligated and responsible for it. He did not simply dispose of it when it became to short to be really useful. It is an inexpensive item. He could have easily replaced it with a more useful new one. Instead, he kept it. He tended to it in tenderness it seems. It seems appropriate to suggest that his sense of being affected meant that he felt obligated to let it be even after it seemingly  lost its pure utility value. But this affectedness, this sense of obligation is fragile and precarious. It is small and could have easily been lost in the work place. The concerns of every day life could have overtaken, leaving little or no time to tend to its letting-be. Indeed, its claim is but one of many. There are so many other others. To be sure our exposure to all others is vast, infinite indeed. And all other others also demand our response to their provocations - what Levinias called the the demand of the 'third' for equal justice (Simmons 1999)."

- Lucas D. Entrona, Ethics and Flesh, (Being Touched by the Otherness of Things) - Ruin Memories pg.56

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

    

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Tits up, failed selfies, and a social misfit called Judy


Judy - Opening of "Surfing the Ironing Board", Mary E. Black Gallery, Halifax, NS

                                                      "Surfing the Ironing Board" Hooked Rugs by Laura Kenney
                                            Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax. The show runs from May 20 - July 10, 2016.


"Every relationship between persons causes a picture of each  to take form in the mind of the other. And this picture evidently is in reciprocal relationship with that personal relationship."
- Georg Simmel 


                                                                                            Two Art Worlds


Note to self after attending Surfing the Ironing Board #1, 

"Every day the art world spins, tumbles, crashes and burns, and then rebuilds itself. It is a world of investment, auctions, and image craft, an egocentric place where commerce is king, criticism is based on hits and likes, and substance is lost in the shadows of awards, art fairs, and  the next post modern controversy. The art world consumes mountains of ink often for those that are least in need of it, and least deserving of it. In general, it pays little attention to social or regional issues when the name is not recognizable, or marketable. In fact the very names of certain artists and their work have become a branding exercise often ironically negating the substance of their message - turning them into prophets of profit.  In some respects the art world has gone Tits Up!

Tits Up, rug hooking, Laura Kenney


However, be that as it may, there does exist another art world, one with integrity and purpose that can at once leave you with an engaging experience, or a smile, even a frown. Over the last five years or so I've taken an interest in the domestic, and regional message of a character named "Judy", who is magnetic because she is not global, but local. Not gone mainstream - but has preferred instead to go down stream - into the murkiness of Nova Scotia's cultural world where issues seldom raise an eyebrow beyond the frequency of facebook; which is where coincidentally I saw my first "Judy" rug hooking."

                                                                           
                                                    Who is Judy?



Note to self  after attending Surfing the Ironing Board #2,

"Judy came to life through the art form of rug hooking, a mystic form of art making involving the anonymous material of textile. The voice of textile speaks through memory, and we prize it for all kinds of occasions, yet like the contents of a Frenchy's bin, seldom know from whence it came. An underrated art form, obscure to many, yet none the less, a time honoured traditional medium with historic roots in Nova Scotia, it has seen a resurgence owing to the regional principles of individual artists and the co-operative support inherent in fibre enthusiasts. 
 
Judy's Attempt at a Selfie, rug hooking, Laura Kenney


Judy on the other hand is not anonymous, although her origins are quite mysterious. Perhaps she may be connected to the familiar dress makers manikin also nicknamed "Judy ", but this too remains conjecture. It's true she is without facial features, but she does have red hair, and is portrayed consistently in a black dress with red boots. She has a cat, a crow, an ironing board, a bathtub, a toilet, an abundant supply of wine, and a serious bad ass attitude. For women, she is an advocate and will not allow her voice to be silent. For men, she is a partner in crime, in a post cod world of collapse and outsourcing."


                                                   Who is Laura?


Note to self after attending Surfing the Ironing Board #3,

  "Like all fascinating art, I wonder about the creator of Judy; she is obviously important to our understanding of the significance and evolution of a character who is simple yet complex, regional yet universal. It just so happens that Judy's creator is a stay at home mom, not part of the one percent glamorized today. We shouldn't be surprised. Artists often work at home, and in a world of the ego and alter ego, it is important to clarify the two.

Under the Microscope, rug hooking, Laura Kenney

However, Judy (and Laura her creator), have been put under a microscope, and in Judy's case what we see is generous and abundant. The microscope reveals that Judy has grown into her life - however equivocal it may seem. Yet for Judy's creator - "how Judy lives", well - there in so does her creator, Laura Kenney.

Every relationship between persons causes a picture of each to take form in the mind of the other, and this picture evidently is in reciprocal relationship with that personal relationship. Georg Simmel
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgsimme304978.html
Every relationship between persons causes a picture of each to take form in the mind of the other, and this picture evidently is in reciprocal relationship with that personal relationship. Georg Simmel
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgsimme304978.html
Every relationship between persons causes a picture of each to take form in the mind of the other, and this picture evidently is in reciprocal relationship with that personal relationship. Georg Simmel
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgsimme304978.html
Every relationship between persons causes a picture of each to take form in the mind of the other, and this picture evidently is in reciprocal relationship with that personal relationship. Georg Simmel
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgsimme304978.html

 Laura, like Judy is a romantic, but has a seekers design. She combs the channels of Nova Scotian culture and themes, laughing at human nature like the philosopher Democritus, and yet allowing ideas to simmer in the unconscious. For Laura, there is a fundamental marriage between the figurative and the abstract; and her character Judy needs both these forms in order to meet her pictorial objectives successfully. For Laura, her backgrounds are her modernist drawing tool, or more accurately her searching tool that acts as Judy's voice."


                                            Why do the Chores?



Note to self after attending Surfing the Ironing Board #4,

"Judy and the domestic chore: we won't find Judy performing a chore. Instead we find her avoiding the obvious in order to ponder the inevitable. A prerequisite for any artist and their work is avoidance of routine and the harnessing of thought - willful thought that often jars the logic of the household. So Judy surfs the ironing board rather than irons shirts. Wine is more effective when procrastinating over what to make for dinner. And of course, after the chores have been abandoned, dreaming of light houses is more important than sleep." 

Surfing the Ironing Board, rug hooking, Laura Kenney


 
Dinner, a Recurring Problem, rug hooking, Laura Kenney


 
   
Light House Dreaming, rug hooking, Laura Kenney
  

                                                   Love of a Cause

 Note to self after attending Surfing the Ironing Board #5,

"It should be acknowledged that Judy is an activist, unelected politico, shit disturber, protectionist, and cultural strategist. Pictorially she is what many ponder in their day to day community cycle of cultural importance. Where to put ones time and effort - Save a school? Protect a light house? Protest the loss of a film industry? The issues can be like an avalanche of loss in a landfill of stupidity, but Judy is also a poet, an  unacknowledged legislator of the regional mind when it goes astray. She has the responsibility of our spiritual well being in mind and she often tells it like it is, even if it hurts - no wonder she tends to imbibe on occasion."

Light House Landfill, rug hooking, Laura Kenney

                             
                                           Bringing Culture Home 


Note to self after attending Surfing the Ironing Board #6,

"If Judy mirrors one thing, it is that culture (in our case Maritime culture) is not something that should remain outside oneself. It should not be the sole domain of artists, bureaucrats, administrators, curators, accountants, politicos, critics, and marketeers.  Culture belongs at home with a place setting for two. With a guest like that, discussion should always be illuminating," 

An Illuminated Guest for Diner, rug hooking, Laura Kenney
 
 Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS