Elaine Rutherford


Sentiments of loss and longing are common among those whose experiences of belonging are bound up in attachments to homeland.  As an immigrant my perception of home is constantly measured against where I am not.  The space of the, “betwixt and between” is the space I inhabit. Painting is an act of transcendence, of temporality, meditation and mediation, where I explore the liminal space of the in between.  While the idea or content might guide me to experimentation in other media such as sculptural and time based, I consider these pieces as facets of my painting practice.

Depictions of sublime spaces such as sea and sky are places in which I explore the relationship between the miniature and the gigantic, places of containment where I can attempt to capture and arrest the expansiveness of such spaces within the frame of the painting.  I am exploring questions of position and location or point of view, in other words questions of inside and outside, above or below, small or big.  I navigate the space between two dimensionality and three dimensionality in my pieces.  Some works have recesses embedded within the picture plane.  These become the venue for displays of miniature collections of houses, boats and other “souvenirs”. The collections are carved in wax and in some cases appear as outgrowths from the surface of the painting.  The collections question what we choose to make precious and what we chose to carry with us. I am intrigued by the capacity of the miniature to transport and to be transported across physical time and space and across the space of memory and nostalgia.  I am mining the depths of nostalgia as I confront my longing for home and my lived immigrant experience. My work, fuelled by this longing reflects on the ideas of (dis) placement, belonging and non-belonging.


Stewart Susan, On Longing, Durham, London:  Duke University Press, 1993

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