Art Under the Influence – Rhoda Chapman

Rhoda Chapman, drawing: The Country Store, 1980, pen and ink on paper, gift of Dr. James K. Chapman, 1997 (1997.70)

Rhoda Chapman drawing: The Country Store, 1980 pen and ink on paper Gift of Dr. James K. Chapman, 1997 (1997.70) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

This drawing is one of a series prepared by Rhoda Chapman for her husband, Dr. James Chapman, for his book, River Boy.  The scene is of the Weston Store, the large stone store/building on Front Street, one of several in the village, and a gathering place for local gentlemen to chat, discuss politics, the price of lumber or potatoes, and so on.  For a young boy growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, it was the source of all knowledge!  Previously owned by the McKeague family, the stone building replaced a wooden structure that burned about 1917.

Mrs. Chapman’s drawings capture the heart of Dr. Chapman’s stories and provide us with a visual representation of his memories.  In an interesting coincidence, this work inspired one of the contemporary artists to create a work for Art Under the Influence.  Without any detailed background history of the work, Kim Stubbs felt drawn to the work: “I immediately feel comfort and a sense of belonging from this work. It portrays the close-knit community I feel today sitting with friends in the village of Gagetown.”  Stubbs in turn created a painting depicting the Old Boot Pub on Front Street, with various local characters sitting around discussing the events of contemporary Gagetown.  It was only when the painting appeared during the final installation that it was noted that the pub is the very same building as the Weston Store of Mrs. Chapman’s drawing!  How’s that for inspiration across multiple generations?!?

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