Elaine Rutherford talks “Phantasmagoria” in Citypages

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Elaine Rutherford, About Time

It’s been over 20 years since Elaine Rutherford moved away from her homeland, but Scotland’s rich landscapes remain a continuing presence in her art. This Saturday, Rutherford will be showing a new body of work that includes paintings and mixed media stemming from photographs she’s taken on her yearly trips back home. She’ll be using the pieces to explore ideas of migration and movement. Rutherford will be showing alongside Amelia Biewald, who also draws inspiration from landscapes and in-between spaces.

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Elaine Rutherford, Mending Fences
Rutherford moved to New Mexico in 1992 for graduate school, and settled in Minnesota four years later, as she was attracted to the large support network of artists here. It was also easy to find jobs and a place to stay.
Despite having lived in the U.S. for longer than she lived in Scotland (which she says is astonishing and frightening), Rutherford continues to go back home each year.”The longer I’m away, the more important it is to re-establish a presence in my homeland,” she says. She’s even organizing an exchange with a group of artists, which will result in a show featuring Scottish artists here and a roster of Rosalux artists exhibiting in Scotland.

“[My of work is] rooted in thinking about place and belonging and ideas of home,” she says. When she’s in Scotland, she photographs bodies of water, fields, and rock formations.Lately, she has been intrigued by migration. “I’m an immigrant, so I’m interested in what kinds of impact movement of people have on landscapes,” she says. Fences, walls, or marks that are left when people leave — such as railroad tracks, planes in the sky, and wakes behind a boat — have all become starting points for her investigations.

For the show that opens on Saturday, Rutherford also picks up on a theme that she’s previously worked with, which involves incorporating two- and three-dimensional space simultaneously. In the exhibition, she’ll have small paintings on panels. Inside the frames she shelves miniature sculptures made out of beeswax or wire, in addition to found objects.
Working from photographs, Rutherford stretches time by extracting elements and experiences, exploring them three-dimensionally. The miniaturized sculptures are “a way of thinking about what’s real and what’s pretend,” she says.
On the surface, Rutherford says that her work and that of Amelia Biewald, who’s also featured in the show, are quite different. However, both artists are taking on conceptual ideas that are often rooted in landscape. Where Biewald’s work looks at the “psychological space between the domestic and the wild,” Rutherford similarly mines the liminal spaces of scale and points of departure.
Sheila Regan
http://blogs.citypages.com/dressingroom/2014/12/elaine_rutherford_on_scotland_and_phantasmagoria.php