There really aren’t any words for this. Just a late-night riff, layers of subconscious play made conscious. The original image is sixty-two inches long. Which means I haven’t been able to see it yet in full-size splendor. But I’m thinking big.
As it happens, this is the 100th post at CatRutgers4art. Quite oddly, there were one-hundred-fifty-two spam messages sequestered at the dashboard this morning. An unprecedented plethora, nearly all of them for valium. Hmmm. Did they somehow tap into my anxieties or is this just “modern life”? No matter. Let us all have a fabulous Friday!
Image and text © Catherine Rutgers 2013
It’s more like a fascinated hunger than nostalgia. It causes a deep sensation in my brain and my stomach, teasing my ability to perceive what is hidden, or for that matter what is plainly on view. This postcard was written in 1908, by Arthur R. to Mrs. Julia Baker. The message: “Am back again in NY.” Arthur, where had you been? And who is Mrs. Baker? Your aunt? Your secret lover?
The postcard was a gift from my own sweetheart, so perhaps that speculation is way off track. And yet, the image is wildly romantic … and haunted. A full moon, over the “Venetian Gardens” at Coney Island, but a Coney Island that is empty, except for the six-piece band playing away on the veranda. And then there is the handwriting, which you just have to look at for yourself because it’s so amazing. And the simple, simple address. We are so far from this world, so far from both the practical details and the aesthetics of how we communicate.
The bittersweet coda: I just decided to find out about the Venetian Gardens. Turns out that this postcard is a popular item for sale online, prices ranging from $7.99 to $20. The first one I saw was from a daughter to her parents in Poughkeepsie, a freaky moment, as I lived there for more than a decade. The Gardens were part of “Dreamland” – fifteen acres of recreated wonders that burnt to the ground, overnight, in 1911. While gaining lots of “information” something precious was lost. What I longed for was the mystery and the romance.
Catherine Rutgers © 2013
Been so long, so long, so long. And you have no idea how many times a day I think of you. Take a deep breath and say, “Oh my god, it’s not midnight.” Hold fast, take stock. Take heart, take inventory. Media-library screenshots, inverted, because the machine is always ghostly and besides all that I think they look cool. Everything is here: the outtakes, duplicates, Guest Spots, a couple of stray Rauschenberg pix that aren’t in the posts anymore. It’s a secret archive I am sharing with you. Took the deep plunge to say, “Heard you miss me.” And, “I am always here.” Love, Cat
© Catherine Rutgers 2013
Caught my eye. It was part of a proposed fund-raising package for a local not-for-profit, way back in my graphic-design days. Popped out from 1,637 other images found in a search for image, name contains, logo. And then took me on a trip.
Here’s part of that art-making excursion. They and their un-posted sisters make a cool Preview slideshow, but my perfunctory experiments with iMovie and the WordPress format indicate I’m not likely to fulfill their animation potential anytime soon. But that’s OK. A woman has to set priorities, doesn’t she?
During the creation of these images, a theory – not in the least bit scientifically investigated – came to my mind, and I wrote it down on the back of a handy envelope: evolution is not linear. It is full of twists, full stops, scrabbly complications, and seemingly useless points that don’t reproduce in a traceable line or satisfying conclusion. True for my artwork, too.
A cul-de-sac doesn’t mean there’s no exit. The client didn’t like my promo idea, which was heartbreaking at the time. And my venture into graphic design never turned into a profit-making business. But it all was illuminating and gives me precious experience to be used along the winding way of my perpetually evolving aspirations. Cheers!
Images and writing by Catherine Rutgers © 2013
Here’s to the readers of CatRutgers4art! You all inspire me, you really do, e.g., Karen D, who brings memory and gardening together in a comment that sent me out to collect and photograph the leaves below: “My mother called them funkia, and it was years before I knew other people called them hostas. I love them and had what seemed like thousands of them at my little cottage in Highland. I remember my hands aching after cutting the stems off after the flowers bloomed. Ciao bella!”
They are beautiful, and they love to grow and grow and grow. Here are other things I know about the funkia: they like the shade; I have seven varieties, and all the leaves and flowers look different and they blossom at different times; if you cut the flower stalks after they fade, some of them will bloom a second time; the leaves are spectacular and great for flower arrangements; when they get too big, which they will, you can separate the plants and share them with your friends. And they, like all the growing creatures that grace our environment, can be transformed into “art.” Love, Cat
Catherine Rutgers © 2013
Let us harken back to the early days of the 2013 growing season, long before the riotous appearance of purple and orange and pink and yellow and red that currently, i.e., early July, festoons the gardens at Buckingham Road. Presented here, one newly emerging hosta, a plant that has many, many varieties, all named after the Austrian botanist Nicolaus Host and described as “any of a genus (Hosta) of Asian perennial herbaceous plants of the lily family with densely growing basal leaves and tall racemes of white or violet flowers – called also funkia, plantain lily.” Funkia, I didn’t know that! What a wonderful name. Thank you, as always, Merriam-Webster’s.
The hosta definition is from the 11th edition of
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary © 2005.
The photo is by Catherine Rutgers © 2013.