In awe. Just in awe. When I viewed these photos of paintings (scroll down) by an artist Amanda Greavette today, a familiar feeling rushed over me. It's that feeling I get when next to or in front of a laboring woman and suddenly time slows down and I connect to what she is going through really deeply. I am in awe of her strength, her focus, her determination, and her ability to let go and do the work nature intended no matter how tired and/or frustrated she is. Then the moment passes and I'm left with my thoughts about what I always feel so honored to witness. It is so intimate, so special, so so REAL. It doesn't get any more real. To be a trusted person next to her is not something I take for granted. Sometimes I say things like, "wow, you're so strong" or "you are really doing some amazing work". And I genuinely mean it with all of my heart! Each time! Laboring women are impressive. I watch women when they are in the hardest place they've ever been before. I watch them cry. I watch them moan. I watch them try to remain focused and lose it. I watch them roar. I watch them catch their breath and relax again. I watch them stick it out. I watch them battle through. I watch them ride the waves. I watch them regain confidence. Then, I watch them overcome. And I watch them meet their baby. What they overcome can be different, every woman's journey is her own. There are no failures even if there are disappointments. It is always a transformative event that words cannot describe. These paintings depict many birth moments more beautifully and accurately than I've ever seen in art before. The positions you see are what women do to birth their babies when they are free and able to. The expressions on these women's faces are so true and perfectly captured. You can hear their sounds and feel their emotion and their POWER, almost as if you are in the paintings with them.
You must read the artist's statement below. Great insight. Enjoy viewing everybody! I want to hear your thoughts, too, so please comment!
Oh, and I really really hope this artist decides to make prints. If so, I will have an office full of them one day. I hope you are touched by one or all of them as I was.
I asked the artist's permission to share these on my site and she agreed and would love to hear even more feedback as it will help her make the decision on whether or not to make and sell prints - so here is all of her info as promised of course:
Artist: Amanda Greavette
The Birth Project blog: www.amandagreavette.blogspot.com
Greavette’s statement: "I’m interested in how women navigate the dramatic process of childbearing and how it shapes and changes their identity. I aim to create work that is provocative, beautiful and heavy with emotion and symbol. The paintings represent an intensely personal but simultaneously universal and ageless experience. Much beauty and drama is lived through a woman’s body, in ways that can be both empowering and debilitating. The pieces I make have a narrative that unfolds according to the viewers’ own experiences, but also represent aspects of the larger story of women’s history. I hope women can see their own stories mimicked in the paintings, as well as emotions, beliefs and experiences they may not be able to express or fully explain."
Photographs of paintings on this page ©Amanda Greavette. Titles given when available.
Her work will be showing in Toronto, Canada.
“Living in the Body” November 4-14 Gallery 1313 1313 Queen Street West.
Toronto Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun 1-6pm