Beverly McIver

I went to the North Carolina Museum of Art with my mom this week. We went mostly to see the Rembrandt in America exhibit, but we also looked at some of the other temporary exhibits. In order to avoid destroying my already non-existent cred as an art observer, I should start by saying that the Rembrandt exhibit was fantastic. I learned a ton, and I got to see really wonderful works of art up close (I’m a master at keeping my toes on the line and leaning forward so far that my nose is just inches from the canvas–never mind the weird looks from that guard…). However, in my humble (very humble) opinion, the crowds are missing the real show, which is Beverly McIver’s exhibit, called Reflections.

McIver describes all of her portraits, even those of other people, as self-portraits. She paints what she sees reflected of herself in another person’s image. One of her most common subjects is her older sister, Renee. Renee has a mental illness and McIver has been her caretaker since their mother died in 2004.

She’s beautiful. The portraits of Renee were so wonderful. Just by looking at the paintings, I could see how McIver feels about her sister. They’re some of the most touching paintings I’ve ever seen.

Of course, there were a lot of straightforward self portraits, too.

This one has nine similar portraits, each with a prayer above it. They range from small to large prayers, from family deaths to frustrating trips to the DMV. It’s great.

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. I found out today that there’s a movie about Beverly and Renee. It’s called Raising Renee. I have not seen it yet, but I will report back if I do.

So Rembrandt in America was great, but honestly, who can relate to this flea collar situation?

But really. Come on.

Renee, on the other hand, is so real it feels like she might just walk off the canvas. You can almost hear her laughing when you look at her portraits. I feel like I know her. I’m going back before the exhibit is over.

2 thoughts on “Beverly McIver

  1. I haven’t been since they renovated it. It’s probably the best art museum in the south. I mean, how on earth did the state of NC get a Monet? Did you ever see Minnie Evans’ stuff? I think she might have been from Wilmington, that or the Wilmington art museum has some of her stuff.

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