The paintings of Kim Novak, the 81-year-old actress known for her roles in 1950s and 1960s Alfred Hitchcock movies such as “Vertigo,” will be exhibited May 4 through June 29 in the Butler Institute of American Art’s Giffuni Gallery.
The exhibit features 27 works of portraits, interiors and landscapes inspired by spirituality and nature. Hours are noon to 4 p.m.
In a 2013 interview with TV Guide, Novak said she sometimes regrets walking away from acting after a fairly short career, but painting fills the void.
When asked what would be a perfect day for her, she said: “It would include painting, of course, and riding my horse and being with animals. I would be outdoors exploring new territory, experiencing the camaraderie of creatures that know you, that let you in and share their appreciation of life.
“Then there’s more joy in taking all that and expressing it in imagery on canvas. I’m lucky enough to live on a river [Rogue River in Oregon], where there’s always something wonderful and new coming along with the flow.
“Sure, I have my regrets sometimes, but when I look at life, and the river flowing, I feel nothing but joy in knowing that I’ve chosen the right path.”
On Novak’s website, she writes about her departure from Hollywood, saying it helped her find her identity.
“At the height of my film career, I decided to walk away from Hollywood — not wanting to fall prey to the tragic endings that often result when stars and sex symbols get lost in an identity crisis.
“I turned my back on a successful and lucrative career to define who I was and what I really wanted to give and get out of life. I moved to a cliffside dwelling along the wild coast of Big Sur, California, with the purpose of creating a lifestyle in harmony with nature while combining it with my love of painting and writing poetry.”
She has been in the news this week for speaking out about the way certain celebrities treated her at the March 2 Oscars award show, during which Donald Trump Tweeted cruel remarks about her appearance.
She initially declined to respond to the remarks, but this week said she felt it was necessary.
“It really did throw me into a tailspin, and it hit me hard,” Novak said in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press, after she released an open letter condemning remarks by Donald Trump and others.
In her letter, Novak said: “I will no longer hold myself back from speaking out against bullies. We can’t let people get away with affecting our lives.”
“For days, I didn’t leave the house, and it got to me like it gets kids and teenagers” who are attacked, she said.
Trump tweeted during the Oscars that Novak should “sue her plastic surgeon,” while others noted how unnaturally smooth her face looked. Novak acknowledges she used fat injections.
Novak wasn’t the only older actress targeted at the Oscars. She was disturbed, she said, when ceremony host Ellen DeGeneres singled out audience member Liza Minnelli, 68, and pretended to mistake her for a male impersonator. “Good job, sir,” DeGeneres said.
Novak said she retains dark memories of her years as a young actress in Hollywood, when she suffered from untreated bipolar disorder and was acutely sensitive to the industry’s casual snideness and harsh reviews of her lesser films.
But the Oscar sniping took her aback, Novak said, because she had been given such a gracious welcome during a visit last year to Cannes, France, and gets warm notes from fans.
The Butler is at 524 Wick Ave. For more information, call 330-743-1107.