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The Journals of Susanna Moodie

The Journals of Susanna Moodie

Charles Pachter

Margaret Atwood

The Journals of Susanna Moodie
  • Brushed Aluminum
  • 2014
  • Dimensions: Not Available
  • 190 Fort York Blvd. Toronto Public Library, Toronto

About the artwork

Curated by Chris Finn, The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Margaret Atwood’s best known book of poems, inspired by the writing of Susanna Moodie, was published in a limited edition format with Charles Pachter’s interpretive graphic works in the 1980s. The marriage of graphic work with literary text created a unique art form, the livre d’artiste. The exhibition explored the unique collaboration between these two artists.

About the artist

Charles Pachter is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, historian, and lecturer. He is a former graduate of the University of Toronto, Sorbonne-Paris, and the Cranbrook Academyof Art, Michigan. Through his career he worked and collaborated with different artists, notably assisting Alexander Calder at Expo 67 in Montreal, exhibiting his work around the world and Canada.

Margaret Atwood is a prominent Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. She has published multiple books of poetry, novels, non-fiction, entire collections of short fiction, some children’s books, as well as graphic novels. Over the years, Atwood has won numerous awards and honours for her writing, including the Booker Prize (twice), Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General’s Award, Franz Kafka Prize, Princess of Asturias Awards, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards. Atwood’s works encompass a variety of themes including gender and identity, religion and myth, the power of language, climate change, and “power politics”.

Fun facts

  • Both artists were constantly writing to each other, over 300 letters. Atwood was interested in Pachter as an artist, supporting Pachter in his creative endeavour. Once Atwood told him, “...someday you’ll be writing God’s murals in the sky”.

Engagement questions

  • Do you think this is an interesting artist collaboration?
  • How does this artwork make you feel?