Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bedsole at Bienvenu

Raine Bedsole has for years crafted whimsical boats, spindly, ethereal vessels that appear to have been built for navigating the seas of myths and dreams more than any real body of water. Over time her oeuvre has expanded to include the human form, trees, old letters and poetic texts, and even totemic oars embellished to incorporate of all of the above. This show is partly inspired by Homer's ODYSSEY and the hurricane refugees still striving to return and rebuild, but literary analogies are only one part of the picture. She is also concerned with connections in a deeper symbolic sense; the sinews of her raw materials often correlate with the strands of experience from which life itself is woven.
OPPOSITE BANKS is a canoe-like form woven from gossamer branches that look more like a bird’s nest than anything truly nautical. Its intense lapis blue coloring, seemingly fused into its venous wooden tendrils, suggests it was meant to navigate the night sky like the barques that ferried the Egyptian pharaohs to the next life. GULF is a bas-relief with a boat formed from flat strips of copper seemingly traversing a pale lunar sea. In some places the chalky whiteness, actually plaster, parts like sea foam to reveal an old map of the Gulf of Mexico; elsewhere it suggests cracked walls invisibly tattooed with ghostly memories. Some nearby tree-like assemblages feature bark made from lines of printed poetry, returning language, literally, to its roots in the earthly world. In the rear of the gallery some old wooden oars stand like sentinels bearing mysterious signs and markings, some in distinctly female proportions. In Bedsole's world, women are vessels of human experience inseparable from the forces of nature they navigate. ~D. Eric Bookhardt
RAINE BEDSOLE: RECENT WORK
Through June
Gallery Bienvenu, 518 Julia St. 525-0518; www.gallerybienvenu.com

Expanded from Gambit
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