Beverley Reid has been making artwork for more than five decades. Following her graduation from the University of Manitoba School of Art in 1956 she worked in Vancouver and England as a display designer for many retailers and television. Subsequent to her return to Canada in 1964 she began making traditional quilts. Over the past forty-three years Reid has refined a distinct affiliation with fabric, revealing an intimate appreciation for its qualities. Although mainly known for her fabric assemblages, Reid’s works on paper—her drawings, monoprints and watercolours—stand on their own as wonderfully composed works; as well as becoming stepping stones into experimentation and expansion for her fabric practice.
Hanging by a Thread contains twenty-three mixed media artworks on paper created in 1990 in addition to the forty fabric works produced over the past seven years. This exhibition demonstrates Reid’s mastery of a wide array of tools and application techniques. The fabric assemblages presented feature a variety of surface treatments including the use of dyes, chlorine, and hydrogen peroxide to manipulate shading and dimension. Stitches are used as “drawing marks” to further enhance texture. Just as a painter develops a unique palette of colours, so Reid incorporates and manipulates a diverse collection of fabric prints to produce her images.
Representations of the landscape and garden dominate the exhibition. The title, Hanging by a Thread, in part references Reid’s concerns about the changing state of our natural environment, both locally and globally, as plant species disappear or are threatened with extinction. Some of her more recent works take on the nature of interior landscapes, or what Malcolm Andrews refers to as inscapes… “what emerges when ’landscape’ is penetrated, intellectually and emotionally…”, as she reveals a more intimate and private relationship between her inner and outer worlds.