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by OLIVIA SMITH
“I see the process of making art as this spiral,” says Raine Bedsole. “You keep coming back to the same place, but hopefully you’ve gained something on it. You’re not just going around in circles.” In Bedsole’s case, one of the places she returns to again and again is a strong central image—often a simple human silhouette, or more recently a shallow boat. The other place is texture. “I love to work with materials that have history,” she says in her French Quarter studio, itself richly marked by the past. “If they don’t have a history, I create one for them.”
She produces that sense of history “just by layering and glazing with paint or plaster. Sometimes I soak pieces in water or dirt. Sometimes I burn things. My favorite tool
is a little torch.” While Bedsole started out making two-dimensional work on paper or wood, her interest in texture and found materials has lead her into the realm of sculpture in the last few years. The boat image for instance, inspired by a dream, started as paintings and evolved into actual canoe-like boats of varying sizes, which she constructs with materials ranging from twigs and steel to gesso-covered spider webs, old letters and photographs, banana leaves, metal studs and tiny shells.
Bedsole had never lived anywhere for more than three years when she arrived here 16 years ago. “I’ve always had a crush on New Orleans,” she says, but she still marvels at how well the city cured her wanderlust. “I’ve never for one day had the feeling I wanted to live anywhere else.” Long represented by Marguerite Oestreicher Fine Arts, of which her studio-mate Mark Bercier had served as gallery director, both are making the leap to Peligro in the French Quarter. •