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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022


Oct. 23, 2001 – Thursday will be an exceptional returning to her roots for St. John artist Janet Cook-Rutnik.
She will be opening an exhibition of recent work in Albany, N.Y., where she was born, grew up and pursued her art studies at the college level. She has not shown her work there since leaving in1969 to move to the Virgin Islands.
At the time, she recalls, "I was attending the State University of New York in Albany and studying with the well-known sculptor Richard Stankiewiez." Like her teacher and mentor, "I was making welded sculptures out of junk car parts and cast-off metal from the scrapyards in an airport hangar, where the forward-thinking professor held the graduate sculpture classes."
"On the Other Side of Dreams" is the title she has given her show that will open Thursday at the Rathbone Gallery of Sage College in Albany. The exhibition will feature more than 20 paintings on canvas and an installation entitled "The Muse and the Altar."
That will be the first stop of three for the show, which will next travel to the Fondo del Sol Visual Art Center in Washington, D.C., where it will hang in February 2002. Then it will move to the J. Proctor Gallery in the northwestern Florida planned community of Seaside, where it will be on exhibit in March.
The catalogue for the exhibition includes a commentary by Marc Zuver, director of Fondo del Sol. Zuver says Cook-Rutnik's work "adds to the body of an extremely interesting new form of feminism seen over the past 20 years in the works of four different Caribbean women, all of whom shared disjointed lives and identities between the U.S. [mainland] and the Caribbean." In addition to Cook-Rutnik, the others he cites are Cuban-born Ana Mendieta and María Lino and Grenadian-born Irma Talabi Francis.
All four artists have "dealt with their body as a temple, an altar, a link to the ageless, the ancestral, even to the great mother Goddess," Zuver writes. "Both Francis and Cook-Rutnik share in identification with Egyptian goddesses, but Janet adds also a psychic memory from the great Greek goddesses — Medusa and Demeter."
Each of the four "also shares a profound sense of dislocation, of fragmentation, of grief and memory of the sometimes eternal and feminine, yet subtlely tugging at their inner heartstrings of memory," he continues. "Janet's dreams and memories recovered link us to the great stream of the human subconscious and its own truths and realities."
For more information about the artist and her work, see the Cook-Rutnik Art web site.

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