Death of A Rookie

Acrylic, 2012

An ode to Steve Smith, in the style of Jacques Louis David, referencing The Death of Marat painting created in 1793. "Saturley’s Death of a Rookie, Rise of a Hero is a take on the political painting The Death of Marat by French painter Jacques-Louis David, 1793. In Death of a Rookie, Rise of a Hero we see Oilers #5 (Steve Smith) sitting up in a tub surrounded with empty beer bottles while holding a letter and a pen. The letter that Smith is holding states: “Dear Grant, I have no words…, I’m sorry. So very sorry...”
This letter is in response to Smith’s rookie year when he scored a critical goal on his own goalie in the divisional final that allowed the Calgary Flames to move forward to the Stanley Cup. Grant Fuhr was the Oilers goalie that Smith scored on. The French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat in the painting The Death of Marat is found in the same position, but, unlike Smith, Marat has been murdered by political enemy Charlotte Corday. Corday blamed Marat for the September Massacre (a wave of killings in Paris and other cities in late summer 1792 during the French Revolution). The huge backlash received by Smith after scoring on his own team can be perceived as similar to the actions of Marat against his own people. But this is where the analogy ends; Smith recovered and went on to be a valued player by the Oilers and when they won the Stanley Cup the following year, Wayne Gretzky (opposite of Marat’s Charlotte Corday), handed him the cup to skate a lap at the arena. Death of a Rookie, Rise of a Hero is about perseverance and continuing on when the chips are down." - gallery didactic for 'Canadianisms' written by Brenda Barry Byrne, MFA, BFA - Curator Strathcona County Gallery @501