My desire has always been to use painting to examine the post-modern world and the vernacular associations that come with it. The realist canon has provided me with the inspiration and latitude to pursue the subject/form of such concepts as displaced communities, and their social and environmental issues. Intent on revealing the precariousness of our Atlantic Canadian condition, my imagery implies that the protagonist's strengths and conditions should be more than just superficially accepted, and questions whether we have, or are getting at the truth of issues that are at the heart of our social responsibilities as Atlantic Canadians.
I’m not at all loyal to one form of genre painting. Some artists define themselves as Landscape painters, Still-life painters, Seascape painters… to be labeled in that way doesn’t work for me. A landscape painter may not consider making a painting of a pool table, and a seascape painter may not wish to paint a nude. It’s common to be interested in a person, place, or thing. Yet, if I study an object long enough, I can see a landscape in a person’s body, or the figurative in a wooden fishing buoy. The ordinary object should start as something alien to us and slowly creep into our psyche. Then, after a while, what’s important is the spirit of the object. What’s in front of our eyes is not enough. One needs to go beyond the subject. That’s the “you never know” moment.
Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS
The Wharf, oil on canvas, 43" x 86", Steven Rhude
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