Patricia Atchison’s oil-on-canvas Well Read captures the well-worn, dishevelled look of the everywoman bookshelf, a reverent nod to the authors and works that have spoken — and continue to speak — to the length and breadth of women’s experience.
“Number one, I wanted to do images that reach out to our community,” she says. Atchison also drew inspiration from positive reaction to an earlier painting depicting a girl browsing bookstore shelves — “MacLeod’s Books on Pender, actually,” she specifies.
“I myself am not a huge reader,” the artist admits, “but every queer woman that I know is, so I’m painting it for them because I know it’s going to be hugely appreciated by queer women.
“Just the titles of the books put it in your face that these are issues that women deal with all the time,” adds Atchison, who canvassed her friends for the titles displayed in Well Read.
“It was more the authors than the actual books themselves,” she notes. “It was, ‘Oh, you have to have something by Jeanette Winterson,’ or ‘You have to have Gloria Steinem in there.’”
In addition to Well Read, Atchison will also exhibit some of her previous work — Miss California and Strapping Lad(y) — at this year’s Eastside Culture Crawl.