July 6, 2003 – As the gallery owner, curator and resident artist, Janet Cook-Rutnik is playing favorites for the show opening with a reception Friday evening at Sólo Arte in Cruz Bay.
It's a three-part show, actually, collectively called "Favorites."
One part is Cook-Rutnik's favorites from the "Pressed Papers" show of etchings by St. Croix artist Maria Henle. Another is of new whimsical etchings by Ellen Graubart, who shared wall space with Henle and other artists in the spring "Pressed Papers" exhibition.
And the third is Cook-Rutnik's favorites from her own traveling exhibition, "On the Other Side of Dreams," which has recently returned from stays in Albany, New York; Washington, D.C.; and Seaside, Florida. This will be the first showing of these paintings in the Virgin Islands.
Of the other two artists' work, she says: Graubart's "witty celebrations of spring and spring fever are pure delight. In contrast is the darker palette of Maria Henle's rich underwater and night scenes of tropical seascapes and full-moon scenes."
As for her own work, Cook-Rutnik says she feels that the paintings, which are expressive of a deeply emotional period of her life marked by personal loss and transformation, represent her finest work to date. "While interpreting grief on an internal level," she says, "one is forced to recognize the universal quality inherent in life's greatest mystery as it is reflected in nature and stories as old as the Garden of Eden."
Tangentially, she has been exploring the theme of original sin in a series of paintings that deal with Eve and the loss of innocence in Eden.
Friday's opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery, located in the blue building at the far end of the Lumberyard complex in downtown Cruz Bay.
An innovation Cook-Rutnik tried with the opening of "Pressed Papers" was such a success that she's repeating it for this show: Following the reception, there will be an Artists' Supper at 8 p.m. at La Tapa. It's open to artists and those who like to keep them company. For reservations, call La Tapa at 693-7755.
For more information about the show, the gallery or Cook-Rutnik's work, call Sólo Arte at 715-2150.
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