Painted Worlds By Dr. Laurie Dalton

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A full-colour, narrative and illustrated critical art history of the works of iconic Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis.

“Rather than thinking of Maud Lewis as an artist who was untrained, unskilled, and worked in total isolation, we ought to reframe her as an artist who, through her observation of landscape and culture, created composite images of what inspired her.”

Upon seeing the title of this work, you could be forgiven for asking, “Another book about Maud Lewis? Is there anything left to say, or is this just one more voice laying claim to her story and legacy?” After all, Lewis’s work has been marketed and co-opted as part of the larger folk identity in Nova Scotia for decades. But something has been missing from that discourse all these years.

In Painted Worlds, curator and art historian Dr. Laurie Dalton explores what always seems to be lacking in the storytelling and mythmaking surrounding Maud Lewis: she situates Lewis’s work within a wider context of art history. Discussions of technique, intent, and colour theory permeate these pages. Instead of reducing Lewis to her cute black cats and whimsical rural scenes, Dalton takes us on a deep dive of the artist?s oeuvre, through the lens of critical art history inquiry. That is, Dalton does not simply regard the paintings as ethnographic objects of rural Nova Scotia, but as serious works of art to be carefully examined. Includes dozens of full-colour images.