Bajo el Sol Gallery in Mongoose Junction on St. John will host a book signing by local artist Janet Cook-Rutnik on Saturday at 5 p.m. Cook-Rutnik will be signing her retrospective “in the garden” as well as her hand-painted books from her project “Library of the Incongruous.”
Cook-Rutnik has been creating on St. John since 1969. She studied sculpture with Richard Stankiewicz at SUNY in 1968, printmaking at Skidmore College, N.Y., in 1990 and public art, installation and new media at the School of Visual Arts in 2006. She was a Mid Atlantic Arts Creative Fellow in 2008 and 2011. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Caribbean as well as in the United States and Europe. Her work has shifted from painting, sculpture and printmaking to contemporary works incorporating video, photography and public art collaborations.
Cook-Rutnik’s paintings currently displayed at Bajo El Sol are included in her 50-year retrospective book, “in the garden,” published in late 2020. Her process illustrated in the book is inspired by the sensation of the powerful landscape and the glory and power of the history and culture of the Virgin Islands as internalized by the artist. There are brief biographical notes by the artist along with essays and reflections by several curators and art writers.
Works from a previous art book project, “Library of the Incongruous,” will also be available. These one-of-a-kind painted books were repurposed, saved from the trash heap and turned into evocative abstract paintings.
Cook-Rutnik’s new COVID-19 inspired works will also be on display during the book signing event.