THE WOODMANS (in theaters; C. Scott Films)
Artist Francesca Woodman killed herself in 1981 at the age of 22. Her haunting photographs—many of herself, nude, evocatively seen fragmented or disappearing into backgrounds—constitute the central visual landscape of this profound and plaintive documentary that addresses, among other things, “the psychic risk of being an artist,” as Francesa’s father, painter George Woodman, puts it. This relates not only to his daughter, but also to him and to his wife, ceramicist Betty Woodman, whose painful loss, in a tragic irony, is so deeply connected to the creative lives they hold dear.
This article first appeared in the January-February 2011 issue of Utne Reader.