Gender Studies • Photography and Women
Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed
Gay Block began photographing her mother, Bertha Alyce, in 1973 and continued until Bertha
Alyce's death resulting from a stroke in 1991. This collection of Block's photographs (sections of which involve nudity) presents her complicated, and at times difficult, relationship with her mother and a mother-daughter quest for healing. This intensely personal and intimate account could easily be a reflection of any family today. Essays by Eugenia Parry, author of Crime Album Stories: Paris 1886-1902, and Kathleen Stewart Howe, curator of the University of New Mexico Museum, accompany the photographs. To complete the presentation, the award-winning DVD "Bertha Alyce" is included (28 minutes in length).
"An extended portrait of a mother and daughter that will fray the edges of documentary expectations." - James Enyeart, Marion Center for Photographic Arts, Santa Fe
"A poignant investigation into the nature of love and memory, including resentment, forgiveness, jealousy and understanding." - Cheryl Younger, International Photography Institute, New York
"This is a funny, sad, provoking, and touching book that I most admire for its honesty." - Anne Wilkes Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
Gay Block's photographs have been exhibited in museums since 1975, including a solo exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1992 when her collaboration on Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust with writer Malka Drucker was published. Block lives in Santa Fe.
"Bertha Alyce is many things: it is a catharsis, an exposé, and a glimpse into affluent Jewish life in the South. It is like a museum exhibit between two covers. Like all art, it is deeply personal, challenging and at times, uncomfortable. . .Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed is a portrait unlike any other; a fitting tribute to a unique woman and all the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship."--
The New Mexico Jewish Link
"Block shows how someone standing in another's strong shadow can endure maternal domination, witness the corrosion of time on vanity, and escape to construct a rich, productive life on her own terms."--
"A book of emotional aptitude such as this is rare, and Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed is worth having for its unique style. A lifetime of photographs seem both familiar and alarming, spinning a narrative of their own that tugged on my heart like lost memories. I found hope and communion in Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed; Block's personal journey is an affecting ride that may prompt you to examine your own memories."--
6.75 x 9.5 in. 290 pages 267 color plates