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I paint, make collages and mixed media work. I write poetry. I reflect on the Tao.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Poem collage or collage poem

For some time I have been wrestling with the question of how to combine text and image successfully in the one art work. The problem is that, given the dominance of literacy in our culture, the spoken word seems to dominate the image.

 I don't want the text to be explaining the image or the image to be illustrating the text. What I want is a synthesis in which both are given equal weight, with both text and image working together to evoke a response that neither could achieve alone.

Medieval artists and comic book artists achieve this by sectioning off the text in a ribbon, a box or speech balloon.

Colin McCahon achieved it by making the text the image. (As his work is still subject to copyright, I can't provide an example, but you can find an excellent example here

Chinese and Japanese artists combine calligraphy with the image, as for example in this painting by Gong Xian (17 century)

                                     (Recommended visit to see more examples and learn about Gong Xian and more)

My present exploration involves integrating a poem with a collage in the style of pulp noir novel covers. The poem and the collage were created independently, but when I was looking for material to bring together in the style of pulp noir, I felt intuitively that they seemed to belong together.

Personally I am pleased with this poem collage (or is it a collage poem or a collage-poem combine?).

I also love Naomi Backer's quite different visual response to the poem, which is far more joyous than the somewhat darker overtones of the poem collage.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wings hidden

Needle memories in the reaper box:
the valley roses, a broken clock,
long organ chords (can’t you sing
“Old Rivers Run”?), dreaming
bleached fish bones, red stones,
sea pillars like broken teeth
and ribbons out of time.

Everywhere I go to pray
out of this world
monkeys mark where I went down
in the boiling sea of special sin
which everyone must faithfully deny.

Red wine dogs taxi-walk in the doorway huddle,
dustman dogs and shipwrecked umbrellas dance
to a forgotten tango of cyanide dreams,
Rose of Ravens whispers to me “you’ll never dance broken,
for I am the ripe dreaming picker of minds
and there are wings hidden beneath your cloak.”