Raine Bedsole: Water and Dreams

Jan 16, 2021 — Dec 03, 2021

Other than a fortuitous reference to water, Heraclitus of Ephesus’ aphorism, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man,” provides the perfect framework for understanding Raine Bedsole’s art and studio practice. At its heart Heraclitus’s line of reasoning is pointing out that the world is constantly changing. The water in the river flows past any who might stand in it, making the river different from instant to instant. Additionally, the act of crossing a river changes a person because it is a new experience, the implication being people are different after they acquire new knowledge and experiences from instant to instant.

When considering Raine Bedsole’s installation, it is important to realize the sense of the whole shifts depending on the perspective or frame of mind of those standing before the work. She prefers her aesthetic set a mood, prompting a journey within her audience. There is no clear destination, no state of arrival. The narratives we build about our personal journeys omit seemingly mundane or inconsequential events for the sake of being at ease with the ideas we deem important. Bedsole prefers depicting a journey that is guided in a psychological sense rather than a physical or thematically over-determined sense. This open-endedness is meant to be freeing because if concepts are put in writing or verbalized it can freeze the understanding of what it means in an instant. Accordingly, Raine Bedsole: Water and Dreams begs the questions: How do we understand our choices and movements through time and space? How do we understand others’ journeys?

While using biographical landmarks to guide viewers’ perceptions of an artist’s work may be problematic, being in dialog with Raine Bedsole was crucial to grasping her intentions. Rather than relying on a linear narrative, however, the following is a non-linear mosaic of themes and observations of what is important to Bedsole. Patterns emerge that repeat and shift over time, embellishing her artistic journey like barnacles on a ship’s hull.

Raine Bedsole’s work is infused with the ubiquitous boat culture of the Gulf South. She is fascinated by how bodies of water connect people and she often wonders where their journeys take them. Other observations: Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter by Gaston Bachelard is the namesake of this exhibition. She half-remembers an exhibition about indigenous boat building in Oceania at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Mobile Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, and South Carolina Museum of Art. In 2017, Bedsole was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her time in Rome rekindled her third-grade love of mythology and epics. While in Rome she worked in Cy Twombly’s former studio and re-established the link between drawing and sculpture she sees in her practice. Twombly’s work helped her re-discover how shadows and sculptural forms are like drawings in space. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. For Bedsole, a grouping of individual works of art becomes a new work of art that is different than the component parts. When she was young, maybe in third grade, Bedsole had a dream she was floating through time in a boat visiting medieval villages, faraway landscapes, and the wonders of the world. Her work always has personal connotations, but the viewer must make their own judgements.


- Ben Hickey | Curator of Exhibitions


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