Female painters come out of the shadows

Victoria College of Art course features 20th century gems

Paul Peregal

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

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read