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Hollis Sigler's Breast Cancer Journal

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A Chicago-based artist, Sigler learned in 1986 that she, like her mother and grandmother, had breast cancer. Five years later, the cancer had spread to Sigler's bones, inspiring the captivating small-scale paintings featured in this powerful book, in which she unflinchingly traces the perilous psychic journey a woman makes as she combats the disease. The pieces have an introspective yet schematic feel similar to the work of Chicago Imagist Jim Nutt. Because Sigler constructs her symmetrical paintings in bright, jewel-tone colors, they also recall the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. (An essay by James Yood traces Sigler's career as an artist, and a brief text by Sigler describes the history of her work.) Occasionally, Sigler uses cut paper to create her domestic scenes of beds, dresses and vanities in which no one seems to be at home. In some works, the right breast has been slashed from the dresses and blood rains from the sky. Because the reproductions are relatively small, the statistics on cancer and the private thoughts the artist has inscribed on the frames of her paintings are reprinted at the bottom of each page. Readers don't have to have cancer to relate to the sentiments expressed in works like "Having to Beat the Odds"Äalthough as breast cancer specialist Dr. Susan M. Love notes in her foreword, the disease still kills 30% of its victims. 60 color plates. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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