Sunday, September 2, 2012

Raine Bedsole at Callan Contemporary

There has always been something strikingly elemental about Raine Bedsole's mixed media works, an assortment of sculptural montages and assorted other creations where water often predominates even as air, earth and even hints of fire are never far behind. In recent years, time has emerged as a kind of fifth element, usually in the form of vintage texts or images rendered as graphical echoes of the past. Throw in Bedsole's more recent imagistic watercolors and it soon becomes clear that her works in all media are ultimately vessels for navigating time and space, gossamer though they may be. In past exhibitions her favorite subjects were boats and other vessels including female forms, but this time around her menu expands to include sea shells and marine life as well as some shanty like structures that are no less spindly or ethereal than the boats that have been her signature creations for years.

Her ghostly and gossamer Long Boat, a nearly 14 foot wall sculpture of wire, wood and steel with a tattered vellum skin extends her nautical tradition, as does Rain Boat Empty Tears, above, a canoe like vessel with a skin of old letters punctuated with perforations that leak tear shaped beams of light on to the wall when illuminated from above. These are accompanied by watercolor on plaster paintings of sea shells like Blue Whelk, top, as well as corals and octopi in shades of tidal pool blue on sepia that subtly conjure the ambiance of poems from past ages when the sea was the ultimate mystery of mysteries. Her hut like structures are smaller yet no less otherworldly. Floating House 1, below, is barely there—part tree house and part shanty, it and similar works suggest the makeshift structures of displaced nature spirits who were once at home in swamps and forests but have lately joined the ranks of the dispersed as global changes create new waves of nomads in search of other lands and other abodes where they might once again feel at home in the world. ~D. Eric Bookhardt 

Dream Documents: Mixed Media Works by Raine Bedsole, Through Sept. 28, Callan Contemporary, 518 Julia St., 525-0518;