Courtesy of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Photo by Robert McNair.

Purchased with funds donated by Senta Ross, Kitchener, in appreciation for the support provided by KWAG to early career artists, 2018.

In preparing a new body of work for inclusion in The Brain is wider than the Sky, Rhodenizer revisited a period of transformation in the life of the influential American expressionist, Marsden Hartley. During the mid-1930’s, Hartley fell in love with Blue Rocks, a small fishing village in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. Hartley’s time in the region was shaped by his fondness for the Masons, a fishing family who had taken him in as a boarder. Living in near isolation and in close proximity to the ocean, the Masons sought comfort and support from one another. To be with them, was to be one of them. When a violent storm off the coast of Blue Rocks tragically took the lives of the two Mason sons, Hartley was overcome with grief. The work he made during that period focused on the Mason family dynamics and the cruel landscape that had wrought such pain.  

Taking cues from Hartley’s maritime experience and correspondence, Amanda Rhodenizer’s Casual Frontier series considers how intimacy can shape a dynamic between guests and hosts. In making this series, Rhodenizer staged photo shoots at a rented beach-side home in Blue Rocks. Her subjects are often shown in tandem – the home owner and a model as guest. They peer through glass, and at times through each other, fixing their gaze on objects or events in a local “elsewhere”. Rendered in greyed hues, her interior compositions are sometimes punctuated by a vertical line that conveys the threshold between two rooms while symbolizing the distance–both emotional and physical–that separates her subjects. KWAG is thrilled to make Casual Frontier, the titular work from this recent series, one of our newest acquisitions for the Permanent Collection. We look forward to sharing this work with our public for years to come.



Inspired by the rapidly changing landscape of Waterloo Region, The Larger Forgetting brings together work by painter Amanda Rhodenizer and poet Laurie D. Graham.

Made over the course of two years, Rhodenizer’s paintings are based on source material gathered from visits to sites of ongoing development around the outskirts of the region. The loose brushwork and neon under-painting depict empty construction sites and isolated figures in stylish condo units. Graham’s lines of poetry hint at the sounds and sensations that come along with “breaking ground” for new developments, and what’s left in the quiet moments when the trucks turn off for the day. The brief nature of the lines and their imagery reflect land in states of flux and trauma.

These are the moments of transition that are shaping the land in Waterloo, its history fraught with colonial tension and its future uses still unknown. By drawing attention to these places and moments, can we somehow connect to the fleeting present reality of these sites?

The Larger Forgetting is now available to order on Laurie's website and on the Open Sesame website. Thanks to the Waterloo Region Arts Fund and the Ontario Arts Council for their support of this project.



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