Casting the Rain Shadow
Our exhibition titled “Casting the Rain Shadow,” beyond its initial appearance as poetic vagary, is in reference to the meteorological term Rain Shadow. I was introduced to the term in a conversation with a fellow artist who has lived on Pender Island, a small island off the west coast of Canada. He described climatic conditions there as consistently dry and sunny, which was to me unbelievable, as I had lived in Vancouver for many years, which is known for consistent grey and rainy weather. Pender Island, he said, is an anomaly that lies in the “Rain Shadow.”
Initially I was impressed simply by the poetic quality of the words, and the mystery of its meaning. I asked myself, “how does rain cast a shadow?,” and “is it not strange that a cast shadow of any kind is one of sunny brightness?!” Upon further research, I discovered that it is in fact a consistent and scientifically verifiable event that can also be found in the Gobi Desert, on the Kanto Plains of Japan, and in the Champlain Valley of upstate New York.
As a poetic point of departure, the Rain Shadow initiates the desire to commune with the climatic and atmospheric processes in experience. These forces exist beyond the moments of our consciousness, and defy conceptual and rational understanding. It is only through the senses, in combination with practical experience, in which slivers of understanding can be gauged. And even then, a sober humility and even celebration of mystery is crucial. And yet, despite this obvious vague and undefined space, there is specificity... there is coherence. The Rain Shadow is an entity. It exists because of a complex interaction of atmospheric forces and specific topologies. The exhibition brings together four artists who explore latent dynamic forces that are given a contemplative stillness within their respective mediums.
In her landscapes and studio-based imagery, Stefanie Loveday photographs investigations of material and forces of energy and time held within them. Julie Beugin's paintings are nimble plays of gesture and fluidity that are inspired from fleeting plays of light upon the frameworks of urban architecture. In his abstract paintings, Nam Nguyen investigates the potential atmospheric effects in painting out of the deeply material nature of raw pigments, in paintings made using hand ground oil paints. Rocco Ruglio-Misurell works with debris and found objects to create ephemeral and airy images and sculptures.
Their works engage in vague notions as a means to specific aesthetic platforms, as poetic departures of thought and sensation.
Nam Nguyen 2018