Wednesday, December 1, 2010

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS : Steven Rhude with "Lighthouse on a Road"

We're Starting our highlight series with a big one... A painting from Steven Rhude's  most recent exhibition Declared Surplus

Lighthouse on a Road Oil on Canvas 40" x 60" by Steven Rhude

Rhude is quickly becoming one of this provinces most recognized artists, and is even slated to release his first book on December 10th titled "A Place Called Away".  Drop by the gallery at 2pm and pick up one of the first signed copies and meet the artist!

Wondering WHY the lighthouse is in the middle of the road? Read on!

My interest in lighthouses as subject material was sparked by the soaring shapes and modernist qualities of their design. For years they have been a metaphor for the exuberance of the marine/fishing age. Declaring lighthouses surplus has set into motion a figurative journey not only for our region but our collective identity as well. A journey existential and without destination. This is a changing landscape we are now in – busy trying to transform the once nautically essential structure into a heritage site in order to retain some semblance of collective memory for the Atlantic coastal community. A memory which once not only spoke to the past, but through these structures looked confidently to the future. Unlike the soulless technology of the steel skeleton lighthouse of today’s vintage. This painting mirrors the monument to the lighthouse, juxtaposed with the new era of the information highway. It has evolved over the years as I have staged a number of maritime objects like buoys, fish boxes, boats, and sheds on the road, metaphorically impeding the viewers path in order to establish a negation of movement. A duality is then established in a place normally used for transit.

The regionalist painter has lingered in the shadow of the contemporary agenda. In an ever increasing yet nebulous world of postmodernism, where art practitioners working in film, video, installation etc., produce work which has a homogeneous trademark; rendering the artists place of origin meaningless – Tokyo or Winnipeg, it does not seem to make a difference where technology is concerned, as it dominates over content, the spectacle over philosophy, the curatorial high priest over the poet.

Lighthouse on a Road, indeed most of my work is an attempt to assess that shadow and its origin, while considering the poetics of place as it relates to my particular region of the world