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Storyboard: The Sexual Politics of Jackie Felix in today's Buffalo News

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Welcome to Jackie Felix's world By Colin Dabkowski, News Arts Critic

In the Buffalo News on Sunday, February 19. Read whole the article by clicking this link.

For Jackie Felix, circumstances were everything.

Felix was born on the south side of Pittsburgh in 1929 to strict parents who pushed her away from the uncertainty of a life in the arts and toward the relative security of a family and teaching career.

Then, 1964, her husband died in a car crash, leaving Felix to care for their two young children alone.

In the early 1970s, she remarried to Al Felix, an art lover and poet whose entry into Jackie's life was the circumstance that allowed her to pick up a brush and follow her creative spirit.

It didn't take Felix long to settle on what would become her career-long subject: people trapped in their own circumstances -- of gender, location and social experience -- and longing to connect to one another and to break free. Felix's tortured characters now inhabit the walls of the Burchfield Penney Art Center's east gallery, part of a sprawling retrospective of her work that comes more than two years after Felix's death, in November 2009.

Al Felix, 85, who hosts a poetry open mic night every Monday at Caffe Aroma on Bidwell Parkway in the Elmwood Village, remembers his wife as someone who only began to come into her own once she got hold of a paintbrush.

"We live in two worlds," Al Felix said, "the world of facts, which is you, me, this cup, our jobs, brushing our teeth in the morning and all the other things that we do that enable us to live from day to day on the surface level. But what defines us as more than featherless bipeds, as Plato described it, is the second world, which is really the key world. And that is the world of the imagination....

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