Female painters come out of the shadows

Victoria College of Art course features 20th century gems

Paul Peregal

With the world celebrating International Women’s Day this week, the timing of a new course at the Victoria College of Art is rather impeccable.

Great Women Painters of the 20th Century, entering its third week of class today (March 7), is the brainchild of instructor Paul Peregal. A teacher of modern-era painting technique and history at the college, he chose the subject matter as a way to shed light on a largely under-acknowledged area of the arts world.

“What was happening in my classes was that I would include the vast majority of masters of the 20th century, and they were men, but there were many women also (in that era) who weren’t getting quite the coverage that they should have,” he says. “A lot of my students asked me to present more women.”

Peregal touches on a different artist or group of painters each week. Among his subjects are early 20th century artist Pegi Nicol McLeod. She was an award-winning painter in her time, Peregal notes, and gained notoriety through her association with the National Gallery in Ottawa.

“She died tragically at 45 in New York and with the exception of a memorial show (well after her death), she drifted into obscurity,” he says.

Peregal generally lectures about an artist and presents examples of their work, but also touches on “the very philosophy and politics of the times and what influenced them to do these things.”

The tricky thing about teaching a course on relatively unknown artists, he says, is finding background materials.

“When you research these women, very often you find a complete lack of information. By comparison, there’s plenty of books on male painters of the era, but if you start looking around for other names, it’s not easy to get hold of a large catalogue, resumé, or a coffee table book with a wealth of colour reproductions.”

Notable artists such as Emily Carr and Georgia O’Keefe are also covered by the course. Both have distinctive styles that continue to captivate art lovers, unlike some of more overshadowed painters being featured, such as Vanessa Bell (last week’s subject), Alice Neil and Joan Mitchell.

VCA grad Deirdre Kelly, who is enrolled in Peregal’s class, is interested in the modernist movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. She was keen to broaden her knowledge of the work of women artists, as it relates to her own painting.

“I have been interested in people like Emily Carr, but who else was there?” she asks. “I’ll be doing my own research afterward on the topic.”

The college offers the classes in six- or 12-week packages. For more information on the course or any other college offerings, visit www.vca.ca or call 250-598-5422.

Just Posted

More than 900 new units planned for Langford Lake development

Council still has to sign-off on rezoning application

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

Art has become a lifestyle for local resident

Coast Collective’s latest exhibit celebrates all things late fall

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

Island athletes compete at Dragon Boat Championship in China

Eight paddlers will be part of team representing Canada Oct. 18-23

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

EDITORIAL: It’s time to change the sexual assault conversation

The words “Me Too” are taking social media by storm this week,… Continue reading

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Event puts pets in the picture for Halloween

Pets West holding Halloween party Oct. 29 at its Broadmead Village location

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read