"Before flat-bottomed paper bags, shoppers carried purchases in wooden crates or rolled into paper cones. At best, they got wimpy envelopes that tapered into a V-shape, which everyone knows are barely durable enough for greeting cards.
The force behind those sturdy Whole Foods paper bags you can reuse a hundred times: Margaret E. Knight. In 1868, Knight invented a wooden machine that folded and glued paper into an economical, roomy, and rectangular receptacle.
Then a man stole her idea."
|#WhoseMaud, drawing on paper bag, 20"x16", Steven Rhude|
The brown paper bag is an unlikely candidate for artistic expression. It is at once a utilitarian object with symbolic commercial properties, and a receptacle of goods and essentials. From the common brown bagged lunch, to the grocery bag, I recall it being present in our household, as it served many containment purposes and even still holds a crackling audio memory for me as it was folded up for potential reuse and put away in a kitchen drawer. Later on at art college, serious drawing was to be done on finely milled 100% rag papers, etchings and lithographs were similarly to be printed on acid free designated papers usually of European origin. Artistically, the common paper bag was sometimes a still life object used in drawing exercises to study the surface planar structure of three dimensional forms. It never occurred to me at the time it held potential as a drawing surface in itself.
The following series of bag drawings delves into the legacy of Maud Lewis, Folk painter, and the campaign by Scotia Bank to attach their branding to her life and art through the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's folk art collection and programming objectives. Using Maud's apron as a pretext for examining issues of identity, copyright, and the bank slogan forms the intent. Indeed in arts and culture in general, all of the big banks in Canada have become a constant corporate partner with art, shifting our perspective on art's value to community and the marketplace. Within the drawings are three altered bank slogans and bank colours synonymous with the post modern consumer.
Subsequent to the apron drawings are a series of pauper drawings on paper bags. By now more has been uncovered on Maud's connection to her neighbouring Poor Farm and its residents. Source material for the portraits are linked back to the Victorian era in England, a period that comprised and influenced much of our contemporary perceptions of poverty and the modern welfare state.
|#Whoseidentity, drawing on paper bag, 20" x 16", Steven Rhude|
|#Averytimelyinvestment, drawing on paper bag, 20" x 16", Steven Rhude|
|#Forwhatmattersinlife, drawing on paper bag, 20"x16", Steven Rhude|
|#Readyforyou, drawing on paper bag, 20"x16", Steven Rhude|
|#Maud'srealsocks, drawing on paper bag, 20"x16", Steven Rhude|
|#pauper1, drawing on paper bag, 20" x 16", Steven Rhude|
|#pauper2, drawing on paper bag, 18" x 16", Steven Rhude|
|#pauper3, drawing on paper bag, 20" x 16", Steven Rhude|
|#pauper4, drawing on paper bag, 20" x 16", Steven Rhude|
|#pauper5, drawing on paper bag, 20" x 16", Steven Rhude|
Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS