By Bernie Bell
Local artist Jeanne Bouza Rose https://artworksoftheearth.com/about-jeanne-bouza-rose/ is originally from America, New York State. Though she has lived in, and loves, Orkney for many years now, her home-land is still the Divided States of America – her memories and family are there, and family matters to Jeanne.
She now observes her home-land from her home in Orkney, and what she observes, disturbs her a great deal. The divisiveness, distrust and plain nastiness of Trumpism, goes against everything that Jeanne is. I remember her at a concert in aid of ‘Families Need Fathers’, singing ……
“Kindness spreads like butter
Kindness spreads like jam
Kindness spreads like margarine
On a hot toasted Yam – that’s a sweet potato!”
And kindness is exactly what’s needed in America, and the world, today.
Jeanne is first and foremost an artist. Her joys, her concerns, are expressed in and through her art. Her art works change their form sporadically, which is healthy – it’s best if expression doesn’t stagnate.
Her work has included huge – and I mean HUGE – paintings of standing stones and mountains – full of strong colours and shapes. She also works with the Provincetown Print method to produce more restrained pieces, and water colours and paintings which ‘take a peep’ https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/05/15/jeanne-taks-a-peep/ . Her art work changes, as what she observes changes. And so, viewing the situation in America at this time, stirred something different in Jeanne.
She began with the idea of walking the Ring of Brodgar and painting small, controlled images, but then felt a need to express more precisely her feelings about America today.
Trump is gone, but Jeanne very much fears that his influence is still there among deluded, destructive people. Damaged people damaging the world.
Jeanne and I discussed this, as mentioned in this piece https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/12/17/jeanne-weaves-her-words-and-images/ , so I won’t go over it again. But I will draw your attention to Jeanne’s exhibition in the windows of Northlight Gallery in Stromness….
I don’t go into town in these times, when staying home is a sensible policy. I was, however, very interested to see how Jeanne’s concerns had expressed themselves in her new work. And so, I was pleased when some publicity for the exhibition appeared in my Inbox, including one of Jeanne’s new images. Tight, scratchy lines, not strong colours, question marks on paper, folded into a tight concertina shape. Not like the ‘usual’ Jeanne, at all.
This said to me, that something has entered deep into the soul of Jeanne, and troubles her deeply.
I would advise, if you are in Stromness, to go along and view her new work in the windows, for yourself. Look as closely as you can at what is presented here – tho’ the actual internal images can be difficult to see – a sign of the times – hard to see/know what’s going on. Then, look at some of Jeanne’s previous forms of work, and compare them. This could give some idea of how deeply this woman is concerned about the situation in her home-land – the home-land where her family and oldest friends live.
It’s hard for us to take when we see what is happening around us in Britain today – the confusion, the widening division between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, but we are here, and can take action, to some extent.
It must be a lot harder to be away from your land – and remember, at the present time Jeanne can’t even go and visit – and have to just watch, and express in your art how you are feeling.
To me, this has produced the thin lines, the use of weaker colours, the general …scratchiness. This is a Jeanne who is hurting, for a nation which is hurting.
That’s just how I see it, from this one piece.
And we can’t even hug her, in these strange days.
Related article: ‘Tangled Chaos’: Jeanne Bouza Rose