HEATHER GOODCHILD at the Six Shooter Gallery (1118 Queen East), to October 22. 416-465-2459. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Heather goodchild's work transports you back to the era of kerosene lamps, dirt roads and daguerreotypes. Her past work was mainly in textiles, stained wool images of women from murder ballads and eerie soft quilted dolls inspired by the dusty, gothic side of turn-of-the-last-century Americana. She's fascinated by the mores, social structures and narratives of that world.
Her show Fatal: Fairest Among Thousands, Altogether Lovely, at the Six Shooter Gallery, includes woodcuts, a departure from her usual work in fabric. She focuses on five heroines of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic lodge established in 1850 in Boston that admits both men and women members.
Her portraits of the five women from Bible stories incorporate Masonic symbolism. The women embody key virtues corresponding to five symbols that make up the Eastern Star Masonic Lodge 's five-pointed star.
The prints have a strongly defined graphic style that recalls Victorian newspaper illustration and the beginnings of art nouveau, and a heavy- handed earnestness that evokes the social activism of the time. Even the quilts in the show have a neatness and careful loveliness that make them seem antique.
If you didn't know better, you'd swear these quilts and prints were made by a patient widow who led meetings of the local temperance union.