At NMWA, the juxtaposition of Faith Ringgold's stark, political work against the tumultuous dreams uncovered by Audrey Niffenegger (best known as the author of The Time Traveler's Wife) was startling and fresh.
|detail: Faith Ringgold, American People Series #1: Between Friends, 1963; Collection Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York - See more at: NMWA|
|The Time Traveler's Wife, original cover art by Audrey Niffenegger, via Tower Books|
In Niffenegger's self-portraits, there are unsettling images and ideas of a woman being defined and controlled by a man, a lover who chops her hair off because it displeases him. It is little wonder that her dreamscapes become intertwined with what look like death wishes, skeletons lurking within and among the female forms.
|Audrey Niffenegger, Observation (detail), 2010; Collection of Larry and Laura Gerber, Highland Park, Illinois - See more at: NMWA|
|Raven Girl, original cover art by Audrey Niffenegger, via Amazon.com|
Just as Ringgold and Niffenegger demonstrate two approaches to art--external, loud, in your face versus internal, solemnly despairing, reflective--we find in Measure two different approaches to being a successful actress on stage in the work.
This Measure gives us, in the lead, Gretchen Hall as Isabella, the strong, wise, moral heroine, and Katie deBuys, melting unrecognizably into a minor part (Juliet, the beloved of Isabella's brother).
|Gretchen Hall, via About the Artists|
|Katie deBuys, via About the Artists|
Katie is different. The fact that our Meetup gang did NOT recognize her in what is a tertiary role is a testament to her craft. Just as astonished as we all were that the same actress could be both the mesmerizing and playful Katherine of France and the young boy, just a soldier under Henry, here again, she astonishes, turning herself inside out to be who she needs to be.
"Meeting" these four women artists at once validates all our points of view, our approaches to life. Some of us speak out, shout, get noticed, seen, heard. Some of us reflect and project, melt meaningfully into our worlds, work with the tools we are given--our spirits, minds, and souls.