Lady Oracle

Amy Cutler on her quiet magic realism

illustration of a woman in the woods with animals
Safekeeping (2005) / Amy Cutler

“This painting is titled Safekeeping and it’s about feelings of stagnation. Originally, I painted just a couple of women hidden behind the trees. Then I started to make them appear, and one ended up at the tree that has a cabin at the top and a pile of cakes at the bottom. The cake is a celebratory marker, and these women visit the tree and dump their cakes because they aren’t into celebrations or into traditional routines; they feel disconnected from their surroundings. There’s actually a woman buried beneath the pile; her feet are sticking out near where the woman is standing.

“I am the result of the feminist era. My parents divorced early, and I was raised by my mom. That definitely changed the course of my thoughts, but I’ve never studied feminism so I’m hesitant to say my work is feminist, even though writers have described it that way.

Safekeeping is similar to a miniature painting. It’s like when you whisper, it’s intended for smaller groups of people to hear. They’re very private moments. I don’t always fully understand everything I’m painting and I doubt I would be motivated to make them if I knew exactly what they meant. It takes me about a month to finish a painting, and there are a lot of changes from the time I make the first sketches in my notebook to the final image.”

Amy Cutler

Like What You’re Reading?

Fact-based journalism is our passion and your right.

We’re asking readers like you to support The Walrus so we can continue to lead the Canadian conversation. This past year has seen some serious changes in Canada, from the mainstreaming of cannabis to the fallout of the SNC-Lavalin affair to our response to COVID-19.

We feature Canadian voices and expertise on stories that travel beyond our shores, and we firmly believe that this reporting can change the world around us. The Walrus covers it all with originality, depth, and thoughtfulness, bringing diverse perspectives to bear on essential conversations while setting the highest bar for fact-checking and rigour.

None of this would be possible without you.

As a nonprofit, we work hard to keep our costs low and our team lean, but this is a model that requires individual support to pay our contributors fairly and maintain the strength of our independent coverage.
Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt.
Every contribution makes a difference.
Support The Walrus from as little as $2. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *