Friday, May 29, 2009

More on my reading of Women Between by Verna Reid.

In Verna Reid's exploration, she discovered four themes common to the work of these four artists: home and mother; body; nature; spirituality and aging. Reid uses these four aspects of artistic practice as the structure for her book.

Within this framework the author shows how the four women weave together the separate parts of their lives. The ordinary routines of daily life, and relationships with the people close to them, form a large place in each of their lives, alongside their painting and/or writing. Three of the women - Mary Pratt, Aganetha Dyck, Sharon Butala - are still working today and each one maintains a strong passion for her art as she ages. Sadly, Mary Meigs died in 2002.

At the end of each chapter, Reid writes of her own experience of the same issues the artists face, what she calls "Reading as Daughter, Sister and [in some chapters] Mother to the Text." I like this personal aspect of the book. I feel myself responding not only to the artists, but also to the author. I admire her careful research, her intelligence and her openness in sharing how she entered into the stories of these artists' lives.

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