Betty A. Gerich Painting and Sculpture
The New York Times
Then there is “Working Mother,”
a relief apparently modeled in clay that involves a face cracked down the
middle, the head and hand of a screaming infant and another adult hand
holding paper money. Though it is the work of a contemporary, Betty A.
Gerich, the woman’s Pallas Athene looks plus the competence of the modeling
make the piece seem like a detail found in the studio of some late 19th
Gerich's works range from mythical to whimsical. Her connected columns twine like Mobius strips on steroids and glisten under metallic coats of paint. The one striking exception to this geometry is a small piece puckishly titled “Prehistoric Venus- Middle Age Crisis”, fertility goddess, complete with featureless face, pendulous breasts, and outsized, jutting buttocks. The work is both a celebration of female fecundity and a wry comment on the ravages of aging on the body.
Gerich's work criticizes American culture's overbearing obsession with beauty, and the often pain ridden process that many endure to achieve perfection. Betty Gerich has chased the elusive figure down; she has caught beauty in her artwork.
White Rose, 10" x 8", Watercolor
Gerich’s sculptures are directly
body-referential, for the scale of her forms fit the viewer’s body hand-in
glove. The riffled curves in Sanctuary, for instance, echo the back of
the hand and the hollow of the palm in a thousand interpenetrating positions.
The Hartford Advocate
Gerich's works gain power
as they progress chronologically. The “Reclining Figure Relief” calls to
mind pieces of shell pressed close together on a beach. the head of this
recumbent female is to the right, with a snake-like arm enclosing her head.
The black coloring and claustrophobic composition create an eerie quality
that becomes more overt five years later in the mask series.
Gerich concentrates on great
romantic themes in her works. Whether she is celebrating love through her
equestrian forms or her exquisite female torsos, she has discovered the
ultimate possibilities of intimate and appealing themes.