Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cinderella by Shona Reppe at the New Victory Theater

Lobster and Canary were entranced yesterday evening by Shona Reppe performing Cinderella as part of the New Victory Theater's Scottish Festival.

In the Duke on 42nd Street's intimate black box theater, Reppe had a full house completely enthralled from the moment she walked on. Somehow she transformed one simple hand-held puppet, one pair of gloves, and an ingeniously designed counter-top (with lots of pop up drawers) into the world of the ash-girl and her nasty stepsisters. The audience-- mostly very small people aged 3-7 and their parents-- oohed and aahed, we blew on the magic handbag to produce Cinderella's dress, we clapped and laughed. When Reppe, using just phosphorescent cut-outs in the dark to depict Cinderella dancing with the prince at the ball...well, then we were all of us in fairyland.

Reppe's sly,impish performance was-- to put it shortly-- brilliant.

Her collaborators also deserve applause: Ian Cameron, Tamlin Wiltshire, and Gill Robertson (founder and artistic director of the Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, which is putting on Hansel & Gretel as part of the New Victory's Scottish Festival).

Special kudos to the New Victory Theater, the groundbreaking organization dedicated to the best in children's theater from around the world, and also to the Jim Henson Foundation for its support of the production.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Leon and the Place Between

Here's the perfect holiday gift for the youngest readers in your life, especially those who love to curl up on your lap as you read to/with them:

Leon and the Place Between, story by Angela McAlister, illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith (designed by Mike Jolley and edited by Libby Hamilton), published earlier this year by Candlewick Press.

The story is elegant in its simplicity: Leon and his siblings go to a traveling magician's show...and Leon is transported by very real wizardry into the Place Between.

"With a ripple of gold braid...the curtains slowly parted..."

"Up jumped a barrel organ monkey, all made of wood and tiny hinges, He beckoned the moon to light the mechanical toys..."

McAllister's evocative words are embodied, brought to life, and made to sing by the wondrous art of Baker-Smith. Pages are die-cut to reveal mysteries, side pictures collide with sprouting flowers, birds and oddly fonted letters, colors leap off the page in gold, magenta, the deepest blue.

For a preview go here on the Candlewick site.

When you read (and frequently re-read) this book, you will ask as Leon's younger brother does at the end:

" 'But where did you go?' asked Little Mo.

Leon smiled.

'I went to the place that magic takes you.' "

Thursday, September 24, 2009

W.H. Auden, A.S. Byatt: The Danger of Words

W.H. Auden in his foreword to Owen Barfield's History in English Words (1953):

"We can only cope with the dangers of language if we recognize that language is by nature magical and therefore highly dangerous."

A. S. Byatt in an interview with Sam Leith in The Guardian (April 25, 2009):

"I don't understand why, in my work, writing is always so dangerous...People who write books are destroyers."

P.S. When Odin wanted to bring the art of poetry to the gods (and to mankind as a gift on selected occasions), he sought out its jealous guardian, the giant Suttung son of Gilling. Taking the name of "Baleful Action," Odin proceeded to cause nine serfs to slit one another's throats, tricked Suttung's brother into betrayal, slept with Suttung's daughter, and finally stole all the poetry in the world, which took the form of a pool of mead. Odin held the mead of poetry in his mouth as he flew in the shape of an eagle back to Valhalla, hotly pursued by Suttung. In short, the giants lost possession of poetry through trickery, bloodshed and theft. Of course, the giants themselves only gained poetry by coercing it from the dwarves... and so it goes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Round-Up

The last of the cicadas in Central Park, the first of the goldenrod and asters, air so clear I think I can see the picture on the wall of the apartment over there across the East River... fall is coming...

Random leaves plucked from the air...

* Gary Go released his first album in May in the U.K.-- it's available stateside now. I've been humming "Wonderful" for two days straight...a sweet, gentle reminder that life is, in fact, wonderful: "We are miracles/Wrapped up in chemicals/We are incredible/Don't take it for granted."

*"Textural Rhythms: Constructing the Jazz Tradition -- Contemporary African American Quilts" is at the American Folk Art Museum through October 11. To quote the museum: "The sixty-four textiles....illustrate a broad range of techniques and inspirations and examine the importance of faith in the work of the fifty-five participating artists (including four men). Viewers are able to see, hear, and feel jazz through the quilts on view. Some quiltmakers pay homage to their favorite musicians, others interpret their favorite song; yet another group reflects on the role jazz has played historically in the formation of African American identity."

* Mandala: The Perfect Circle is at the Rubin Museum through January 11, 2010. Per the museum, the exhibit "explores the various manifestations of these objects, simultaneously explaining their symbolism, describing how they fulfill their intended function, and demonstrating their correlation to our physical reality. An important part of the exhibition is the focus on the complex symbolism of the number five, which plays an important role in Tantric Buddhism. This pentarchy is found in the spatial references of the five directions (the four cardinal points and the center), the five elements, the five colors, the five aggregates, the five wisdoms, and the five Transcendent (Tathagata) Buddhas."

* Photographer Richard Barnes is one of those people I wish I had as a neighbor. His first monograph, Animal Logic, was published last week by Princeton Architectural Press. I cannot wait to get it. As the book blurb notes, Barnes "has spent more than ten years documenting the way we assemble, contain, and catalog the natural world. Barnes's behind-the-scenes photographs are haunting reminders that there is nothing natural about a natural history museum. [...] Barnes peels back layers of artifice to reveal the tangle of artistry, craftsmanship, and curatorial decisions inside every lifelike diorama and meticulously arranged glass case."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

6+ 1 Interview: Kate D. MacDowell

Kate D. MacDowell hand builds porcelain into figures (birds, rabbits, human hands, nests) that one is certain will move. But they won't, will they? Truncated, stripped back as if on the anatomist's table to reveal transposed organs and misplaced skeletons, these creatures are gorgeous grotesques, chimerae, small fragile renderings of death.

For more images and her resume, see Kate's website.

Here's what Kate told the lobster and the canary:

"I fell in love with clay as soon as I first started working with it about four years ago. Prior to that I taught English to high school students and produced websites for hi-tech companies. Although I had just finished a year and half working at a meditation retreat center in rural India, it wasn’t until stopping off in Italy for several weeks on the way home that it fully hit me that making artwork was not an indulgence but served a vital need. I’ve been lucky to be able to work in the studio full-time since then, and continue to collect visual imagery and ideas from travelling to Classical Greece, Nepal and Thailand, where I almost never take pictures, but just absorb".

Thanks Kate, and now for your questions.

Question 1: You pass finally through the hedgerows, after walking the smuggler's trace between hawthorn, rowan and bramble, scrambling over the thorn-brakes and out of blind sumps, where the windle sang mockingly and iridescent flies flocked 'round your face. At last you reach the meadow, in sunlight, and hear the sound of horns off distant hillsides. A huge oak stands alone in the middle of the meadow. At its roots is a bronze box, whose key hangs from a nail driven into the tree. What do you find when you open the box? How do you share your discovery with the rest of us?

Kate answers: I'm inclined to take this question literally as my in-law’s live at the end of a Viking/Smuggler's trace on the Isle of Man. What I have found on or around that trace in the past include: a rooting hedgehog, a jogger-attacking billy goat, a tiny shrine with a Buddha and coins, the British farm odor of burning tires and fresh cow dung, and blooming gorse. In the bronze box I find some 10-shilling notes and a bottle of whiskey (galore!) found and hidden away after the wreck of the SS Politician. What do you mean share?

Question 2: I love the C.S. Lewis quote that heads the artist's statement on your website: "We do not want merely to see beauty...we be united with the beauty we become part of it." I think often of Lewis's use of the German concept Sehnsucht, impossible to translate fully into English, but connoting a sense of longing for places we have never seen (and that may or may not even exist), of loss, nostalgia, separation. Does Sehnsucht play a role in your creative process, and, if so, what triggers the yearning, where are you trying to take us?

Kate: Yes, I think so. I experienced this very strongly reading "Tintern Abbey" in college (and bursting into tears unexpectedly in my concrete bunker of a dorm in a noisy East Coast city) and soon after I left the US for Scotland to follow that feeling. But what I was looking for seemed always out of reach, even in the apparent wilderness of a hike in the highlands I would find myself longing to experience the primeval past.

The quality of our lives, the very way we perceive ourselves and find happiness is completely different when we are living closer to the natural world. Anyone who walks into a grocery store after a three-day backpacking trip feels the jolt. I'm trying to remind myself, and others, of feelings many of us had as children hunkered down on our bellies with the grass growing tall above our heads, pondering the world of the ants and inch-worms, or caught up in the tragedy of a dead sparrow on the sidewalk.

Question 3: Your work is self-described as in part a response to (here I paraphrase) human encroachment on and abuse of the rest of the natural world. Your work speaks deeply to me in this respect: each piece strikes a warning note, embodies a mute but eloquent admonition. I see your work as standing in (among other things) the vanitas and memento mori tradition exemplified by Dutch painters in the 17th-century, reminding viewers of our prideful folly and inescapable mortality. For instance, you "dissect" birds and animals to reveal a skeleton within...and go beyond the tradition by making the skeleton human within a non-human corpse. To what extent do you reference the Old Masters, old techniques, old tropes-- and why might you do so?

Kate: I do definitely reference old tropes and specific works. My art education has been largely experiential (wandering through museums in Rome, Paris, London, and Athens) rather than academic, except for a great art history survey course in college taught by an expert on Dutch painters of the 17th century….so I respond more to what I've seen in person and what has fascinated me. So far that has included a lot of work of the Italian Baroque, especially Bernini and Caravaggio.

I think right now I am approaching my work more as a kitsch artist might (as defined by Odd Nerdrum - not in the ironic sense), than a contemporary artist - in part because the themes you mention. The evocation of emotions such as intimate loss and grand tragedy, and the utilization of parables and myths fit more comfortably for me into pre-modern frameworks. I also study natural forms closely and attempt to sculpt them realistically by hand which for the most part has been out of fashion for the last century. I also really like contemporary environmental / land art a la Andy Goldsworthy so my approach may change.

Question 4: As you note, porcelain is strong but fragile-- the threat of shattering is ever present. In one of your signature pieces, Daphne, the nymph and tree are in fact shattered. Reminds me of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, the imperative to repair a splintered world, glue back the shards of divinity. Tell us more about your choice of porcelain as your medium.

Kate: Fitting-- I first fell in love with it because I was carrying an elaborate finished and dry porcelain piece into the studio, and it bumped into a table and shattered into thousands of pieces on the concrete floor. I was briefly in shock and didn’t have anything better to do for several hours, so started picking up the tiny pieces and wetting the edges with a brush to stick them back to each other. You can't usually do this with dried clay, but with porcelain you can. I reassembled the piece after a day or so, and fired it with few ill effects. Porcelain still develops cracks more than any other clay body, but it also seems to offer more opportunities to patch and move on at various stages.

Esthetically, I first started working with porcelain because of its’ translucent qualities, when lit from within I could evoke the effect of an ultrasound or x-ray. I could also reference marble sculpture (classical and baroque), and draw the viewer's eye to the form rather the surface colors of the piece. A pure white piece also speaks to me of ghosts or negative space--it suggests something missing from the world.

Question 5: Your earlier works seem more explicitly narrative (for instance, Tyger, Tyger), while your current style is more lyrical. Also, you no longer paint the porcelain. Tell us about the evolution in your technique and form-making, and where you may be heading next.

Kate: My earlier body of work was a visual response to figurative language, in particular, an attempt to render into three dimensional space the imagery evoked by certain poems that had stuck with me over the years ("To his Coy Mistress" and "From the Republic of Conscience", for example) . I almost always started with a title before envisioning the piece, and I still am more comfortable with words than images. My sketchbook is full of sentences describing ideas for pieces rather than drawings. The technique change (from using color and a narrative approach) followed the change in thematic focus to environmental issues.

As I move forward I want to engage much more directly with the natural environment, either by placing and photographing groupings of work in wilderness settings (the artist Lotte Glob who lives in Scotland does some interesting things, or by doing larger multi-piece installations that create more of an immersive environment (for example, a ghost rainforest: a small room in which you are surrounded by trees, leaf mold, birds, and insects all rendered life-size from white porcelain). I'm not sure when this work will get made because of practical and financial considerations, but that's where I feel the pull.

Question 6: Your figures, both human and animal, are exquisitely rendered. What is your process? How do you structure-- or not-- your periods of observation and modeling? Do you sketch regularly, and then refer to your sketches? Do you use maquettes, make bozetti, use CAD-CAM or other digital visualization tools?

Kate: I really need to sketch out variations and make tiny maquettes more often in order to explore bringing more torsion and movement into my work (as Beth Cavener Stichner does – I do sometimes make models but I usually have a very detailed mental photograph of the finished piece before I begin so I skip that step a lot.

The only modern technology I rely heavily on is the Google image search function -- I type in anything: “pigeon foot”, “dead mouse”, “frog deformity” and instantly pull up photographs from various angles. I have a dusty laptop cycling images and a pushpin covered wall of color prints whenever I'm working. I'm always looking as closely at photographic source images as possible. I work from life when I can, though a trout on a melting pile of ice in your studio is only bearable for a day or two. I rarely use or make molds although I do pick up texture by rolling clay over tiny leaves, for example. I usually build a piece solid and then hollow everything out to 1/4" thickness. The structural implications of putting together delicate and complicated natural forms are sometimes intriguing, sometimes maddening.

Lobster & Canary says: Your turn, Kate. Ask Lobster & Canary a question!

Kate: What do you recommend for the best books to listen to on mp3, disk, or tape while carving away in my basement studio for hours at a time? I love good character-driven fantasy and sci-fi (Bujold's Vorkosigan series and Song of Ice and Fire are my top choices so far primarily for cumulative length, quality, and ability to keep me sucked into the story and working through the night when necessary). But I have also had some great listens all over the map from children's books, to 18th and 19th century classics, to historical nonfiction.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yinka Shonibare MBE

Alas, the lobster was too slow, the canary too distracted...they will miss one of the best shows in New York City this year, the Yinka Shonibare MBE exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum (closing this Sunday).

Shonibare is one of the most original, thought-provoking artists at work anywhere in the world today...and his productions, while they may be "conceptual," are gorgeous.

Deeply humanistic, delving into the ethics of exchange and communication, Shonibare critiques and glosses everything from The Tempest to Dorian Gray, Fragonard to Goya. But his tableaux are utterly and unmistakably his own-- he has a signature style as sure and powerful as that of Magritte or Schwitters.

My words are weak. Listen to his instead in this interview in BOMB.

Better yet, listen to him speak on film, surrounded by some of his best work (from the "Prospero's Monsters" show at the Jas. Cohan Gallery, NYC, last year).

What Shonibare does with fabric is magic, wrapped around ideas that leave an astringent tang in one's mind. I am really sorry to miss the Brooklyn show.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spectrum-- The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art

Last Saturday Deborah visited Spectrum-The Exhibition: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art at the Museum of American Illustration (housed at the Society of Illustrators in midtown Manhattan).

She was blown away by this incredible show, which closes October 17.

Among the many fabulous talents on display were this year's Hugo winner Donato Giancola, as well as Kinuko Craft and Tony DiTerlizzi. Deborah especially enjoyed meeting Charles Vess (who was very generous with his time) and catching up with Marc Scheff, a very warm spirit who she met at Worldcon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cinnamon Wakes: Blake, Arjuna, Poets House, and a Dragon by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Sunday morning musings over coffee, as the fall arts season begins:

The Morgan Library (at Madison & 36th, Manhattan) opened two days ago an exhibit I have been waiting for: William Blake's World: A New Heaven Begun . Over 100 works, including two watercolor series rarely shown: "The Book of Job," and illustrations to Milton's "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso." [Ends January 3, 2010].

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opens on October 17th an exhibit I dearly wish I could see but will most likely miss, since I live in NYC: Heroes & Villains: The Battle for Good in India's Comics. To quote the LACMA site: "This exhibition examines the legacy of India’s divine heroes and heroines in contemporary South Asian culture through the comic book genre. Indian superheroes and their archenemies are visualized from ancient archetypes that have long been depicted in traditional painting and sculpture, and are deeply ingrained in India’s historical imagination. In the twenty-first century new incarnations of ancient Indian gods and goddesses are made manifest as modern superheroes brought to Earth to vanquish the evil forces." [Closes Feb. 7, 2010]

Poets House, the world-class poetry library/center started in 1985 by Stanley Kunitz and Elizabeth Kray, holds the grand opening September 25/26th of its new building (in Battery Park City near Tribeca, Manhattan). Poets House has 50,000 books open to the public, and runs c. 200 poetry programs every year. An all-star roster of poets will read at the opening, including some of my favorites such as Cornelius Eady, Kimiko Hahn, and Galway Kinnell.

Which leads the lobster and the canary-- as we stir cinnamon into our coffee-- to note a good essay by Carl Phillips in the new issue of American Poet about Brigit Pegeen Kelly, "The Surreal is No Less Real." Phillips writes of Kelly (winner of the 2009 Academy of American Poets Fellowship):

"To persuade the reader, poem after poem, that the surreal is no less real than what we call the real, to argue for—successfully—something akin to spiritual vision side by side with the more common suspicion of anything but the cold hard facts—this requires a rare authority, at the level of intellect, to be sure, but also in terms of language and, especially evident in Kelly's work, sheer beauty. [...] Perhaps the best way to describe [her poems] might be these lines from Kelly's own "The Dragon," from her third book, The Orchard:

'...and the air
Was like the air after a fire, or the air before a storm,
Ungodly still, but full of dark shapes turning'. "

I gaze into my coffee cup, at the cinnamon streaks and roils, and think on Kelly's words...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Magicians Meet: Miller, Grossman in Conversation

On Thursday evening, Deborah and I enjoyed the lively, friendly and insightful exchange at Word, the independent bookstore in Greenpoint (Brooklyn), between Lev Grossman and Laura Miller. The main topic was Narnia and its influence on generations of readers, and specifically on readers-- like Grossman and Miller-- who go on to become writers.

Miller recapped and amplified her themes from The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia -- a book that captured neatly much of my own relationship to C.S. Lewis's wonderful but ultimately unsatisfying world. Miller is especially good in her discussion of how our relationship to a book or an author's work changes as we age. For instance, she referred to the trap of the adult reader "colonizing" (I think I recall her word correctly) his or her own childhood imagination. Her clear-eyed, honest approach as a critic, and as a traveler back to the texts that most influenced her as a reader, are what make her so compelling a thinker. I will be re-reading The Magician's Book very soon.

Grossman's The Magicians takes a similar tack in fictional form. I bought the book at the event, and will be reading it this fall, so cannot comment fully, but its conceit is arch. Grossman--a witty, fluid speaker--made many points on stage, each of which could fill a longish blog entry. He said, for example, that talking animals are all very well but why do we assume (as Lewis did) that they would have anything much interesting to say? A talking bear --per Grossman and who am I to disagree?--might just drone on endlessly about honey.

Tolkien and Rowling inevitably figured in their discussion, but looming much larger alongside Lewis was Ursula Le Guin. Grossman suggested that Le Guin was the first fantasy writer of note to break from a British voice and viewpoint, the first doing "reconnaissance" in worlds without a purely European premise. He said that the map of Earthsea looks to him like Narnia shattered by a hammer.

The other writer who cropped up in the conversation was Susanna Clarke, who Miller interviewed at length and who Grossman credited with re-inventing the genre altogether.

A delightful evening! Special thanks to Kelly Amabile, the events coordinator at Word, for organizing it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

6+ 1 Interview: Leslie Bartlett

Leslie Bartlett is a photographer-- or I might call him a finder of signs in the living stone, a teller of stories otherwise submerged in veins of granite. He has lived 40 years on Cape Ann in Massachusetts, the last ten of which he has devoted to exploring photographically the Cape's play of light and shadow on stone. Linger long over his work at Follow the Gleam. He has shown widely in the Northeast, including at Soho Photo in Tribeca, NYC this spring and currently at the Granite Museum in Barre, Vermont. Previously Leslie was a world-class juggler with Le Grand David And His Own Spectacular Magic Company -- Les photographed much of the amazing magic he helped create at the company.

Question 1: If you could be a weathervane, what would you be?

Leslie Bartlett:

[Leslie submitted the picture at the head of this post-- "Diana of the Tower," the 18-foot bronze statue made by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, placed atop the first Madison Square Garden in 1891, at which time it was the tallest point in Manhattan. Diana indeed moved as a weathervane on her lofty perch.]

Question 2: Your work is evocative on many levels, reminding me of the photography of Eliot Porter, the poetry of Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Octavio Paz (whom you quote: "What is not stone, is light"). When you stand in the quarries, long before you raise the camera to your eye, what do you look for? More important,what feeling are you seeking to capture?


"Would that it were the king
of Asine
we've been searching for so carefully on this acropolis
sometimes touching with our fingers his touch upon
the stones."

George Seferis, The King of Asine

What I am looking for is the very gaze, the look before seeing, before understanding, the trace left upon the stone from centuries past. A return to fundamentals – Thomas Starr King is crucial to me, TSK wrote ‘The White Hills,’ the first annotated guide to the White Mountains, published in 1860. Not only did he identify scenic vistas, but outlined the feelings, emotions, poetry to be recited, thoughts to be entertained.

The capture is a return to a first viewing…Tristan to Isolde: ‘What, am I hearing light?

The captioning and titling of photographs in the 19th century hint at the direct , immediate experience I am looking for- such titles as

View from…., gaze across…

Re: Paz, here is a second poem which I used at the Cape Ann Museum show –

Wind and Water and Stone

"The water hollowed the stone,
the wind dispersed the water,
the stone stopped the wind.

Water and wind and stone.

The wind sculpted the stone,
the stone is a cup of water,
The water runs off and is wind.

Stone and wind and water.

The wind sings in its turnings,
the water murmurs as it goes,
the motionless stone is quiet.

Wind and water and stone.

One is the other and is neither:
among their empty names
they pass and disappear,
water and stone and wind."

("Wind and Water and Stone" by Octavio Paz, translated by Mark Strand, from The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987. Copyright 1979 by The New Yorker Magazine. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.)

One of the major influences for me has been David Jones ‘Anathemata,’ digging down below our backyards to the shared hardpan.

When I lecture these days, I often illustrate the typical SUV driver
holding a cell phone 'talking,'while 'looking' where they are driving. The conjunction of the two events does not lie in a middle,
the vague dislocation carries forward well beyond the moment and we
all suffer it.

So I've become more friendly with some of the Continental
Philosophers, especially Nancy's work, and the later works of Derrida as well. Philip Hadot comes to mind as well.

Simple proof, my show at the Cape Ann Museum 2007-2008 presented views of the Quarry walls to people who walked through the quarries daily, who grew up playing in the quarries, and they had never looked. There a ' stop to look.' Do we 'stop to see?' Not the same.

Look puts us in our place, and we see anew again.

Question 3: You have a precious talent for what I would call "reading human stories into nature," yet without anthropomorphizing your subjects. For instance, "Lady Zhao Jun Bidding Farewell over the Frontier" conjures up an entire epic rendered in granite as caught by your camera. Talk to us about how the stories emerge, how you find the fit between the rock, the light, and the narrative.

Question 4: At your recent Soho (NYC) gallery exhibition, you lectured on "A Thin Scratch of Time." We'd love to hear a short synopsis of your talk.

Bartlett: [A response to both questions 3 and 4]

I'm sitting out on the porch with the early morning salt air wafting
across my arms. The tactility of the cool ocean breeze, the slowness
of the currents hint at what it is like to dive down into deep time
deep space, "I cannot attain the intensity which is unfolded before my senses" - Cezanne. He's not talking so much about the mountain, he's talking about Bibemus Quarry. I touch my quarry walls with my hands,rake across the stone with my fingers - a rasping scrapping away, I smell the stone, the moss, the lichens ... "The immensity, the torrent of being in a single inch of stone (drop of water)" -again,Cezanne.

Our memories occupy space ("The Poetics of Space") we occupy but a thin scratch of time.

Mere pebbles left behind by the glacial moraines.

Question 5: The Impressionists often painted the same subject at many different times of day, to re-create the light in all its phases. Do you do that in your work? Tell us about the way in which light may change the surface of the rock, and how you seek to re-create each impression.

Bartlett: Yes, this coming weekend I am recreating William Gilpin’s ‘Gilpin 30,’ where he painted the same landscape 30 times over the course of a single day.

I’m photographing on Thacher Island off the coast of Cape Ann. The image you see on their website masthead is the focus for this effort. For imagery within the quarry I am sensitive to light temperature as it reflects on the stone, often dappled through foliage, the light becomes an equal element of the composition, no longer merely illuminating the surface but suggesting an immediacy, an immediate light without the need to edge, to define, to make comfortable, or dismissive of extended views.

Question 6: Many of the granite scapes you photograph remind me of paintings by Malevich and Klee. Which painters inspire you most?

Bartlett: Cezanne, Monet, Peter Prendergast, William Thon, Bernard Chaet

Question 7: Your turn! Ask me a question.

Bartlett: Yes your choice as weathervane?

Lobster & Canary [smiling]: Ah, well done, turn about is fair play... I shall serve up my response in my next post!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall Recommendations

After a late-summer hiatus, Lobster & Canary is back...eager for a fall of literary and artistic delights.

Here are some of the books we are looking forward to:

* The Other Lands, the second book in the Acacia trilogy by David Anthony Durham (due out September 15th). I heard David read a chapter from the new book at Readercon, and can only say that this effort promises to be as powerful as the first book in the series. At Worldcon, David deservedly won the John W. Campbell Award as best new author in the genre (he is, of course, already an accomplished writer of historical fiction).

* Ray of the Star by Laird Hunt, due out this month as well (Coffee House Press). I am reading the advanced reader's copy right now and it is marvelous, in all senses of the word. How to describe it? Like reading a painting by Klee, or eavesdropping on Eco's table-talk perhaps. Eerie, surreal, maybe more like a De Chirico painting now that I think about it...

* When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster (out this fall from Overlook). I am reading the ARC-- if you like the work of Charles de Lint, Delia Sherman and Alice Hoffman, you will want to buy this book. Warm, funny, and sly...

* Ash by Malinda Lo.

* Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon (out April 28th, but I am backlogged!).

Plus, Canticle by Ken Scholes, and Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson. Looking a little further ahead, into winter/spring 2010: Bestiary by Elise Paschen, and N.K. Jemisin's debut The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.