Monday, August 17, 2009

Ekphrasis: Nature’s Spreadsheet

Ekphrasis: a lucid self-contained explanation or description; the word made visible; words that describe something visual; by extension, visual art that is poetic or deals in words. . . . . The University of Maine at Farmington will explore the concept in a September show that includes my work along with that of five other artists and poets. In 1998, I mounted an installation at UMF entitled “Reading the Landscape.” My paper articulations were overwritten with text, which added content to the gestural imagery that in turn formed an intermediate layer on paper recycled from previous installations. This time I’m foregoing the text. Instead I am using gestural drawings to make storyboards whose narratives will depend on subtle variations – the bend of stems, the dispersion of periwinkle shells on ink wash.

I still believe that landscape is best understood as a written phenomenon, but I have become more attuned, to paraphrase something I read years ago, to the way nature reveals itself in multitudes and multiplicities. Repeats of a single gesture, rows of periwinkles and daisies and Queen Anne’s Lace, multiples of drawings in columns and grids, are another way to invent an installation.

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