poemimage

Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary. All text copyright authors. Images copyright Steven McCabe. Your visit is appreciated.

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Quote

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“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing.

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Making your unknown known is the important thing—

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and keeping the unknown always beyond you…”

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Georgia O’Keeffe, in a letter, to Sherwood Anderson.

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Photo of Georgia O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz, 1918

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Ark

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Both on the material and the spiritual planes the ark symbolizes the power to preserve all things and to ensure their rebirth.

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Biologically speaking, it can be regarded as a symbol of the womb or of the heart, there being an obvious connection between these two organs.

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The basic symbolism of the ark is the belief that the essences of the physical and spiritual life can be extracted and contained within a minute seed…

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until such time as a rebirth creates the conditions necessary for the re-emergence of these essences into external life.

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The ark, during the cosmic parlay, floats on the waters of the lower ocean.

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The rainbow, in the realm of the ‘upper waters,’ is a sign of the restoration of the order which is preserved below in the ark.

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Both figures together, being complementary, complete the circle of Oneness.

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They therefore correspond to the two halves of the ancient symbol of the ‘world egg.’

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As a symbol of the heart (or of the mind, or of thought) the image of the ark is similar to that of the drinking-vessel, so frequent in medieval mysticism.

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from A Dictionary of Symbols by J.E. Cirlot

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Images: Photographs of political hip-hop artist Keny Arkana in montage with a page from The Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated manuscript created around the year 700.

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Let’s Go To The Hop. The ‘Blog Hop.’


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The ‘Blog Hop’ format includes answering four questions about your work. And introducing two other artists. I will also introduce the artist who nominated my page .

So, we begin:

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

Last year I had a wordless book published. A ‘wordless poem’ called Never More Together (The Porcupine’s Qull press).

117 linocuts.

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The surveillance state intersects with prehistory.

Now reworking & morphing high res scans.

Streamlining them into ‘filmic’ sequences.

Meditations Upon a Wordless Poem.

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         The music (already delivered!) is performed and composed by Japanese pianist Yoshiko Arioka.

I am creating/editing a few lines of poetry (about wordless poetry) for the text.

Soon I will sit down with the video editor.

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Also: I just completed a 30″ X 40″ painting. The beginning of a new series of works.

Also: I am working on a book about ‘drawing as meditation.’

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HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

My digital work on this blog comes from the perspective of a painter and draughtsman.

I apply the experiences of working with hand and touch, on canvas and paper, to the non-physical, yet suffused with light, digital.

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I should mention:

Between 1996 – 2007 I had four full length poetry collections published.

Between 2009 – 2013 I created 6 poetry videos.

So, perhaps I seek to infuse digital art & design with a poetic sensibility.

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WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO?

Art is therapeutic.

When I make art I can ‘make believe.’

‘Make believe’ like a child proclaiming The King Has No Clothes.

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(Image: Leslie Gore, lettuce, and William Blake’s handwriting)

I experience the delight of an idea assuming form. The form of an idea assuming delight.

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As the personal intersects with history

Giving voice to the mystery.

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HOW DOES MY PROCESS WORK?

I discover what the image will be as the idea manifests. As I fashion the image.

I allow time for evaluation & distance from the process.

Reading something unrelated often strangely circles back to the unfinished project.

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I am a technician refashioning material that comes from some source I am aware of, but cannot pinpoint the exact location.

While making and discovering connections I haven’t seen before.

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Now it is my pleasure to introduce the two artists I nominate for ‘Blog Hop.’

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First we go to Kansas and the workshop studio of Jack Baumgartner.

http://theschoolofthetransferofenergy.com/

Jack is an artist of faith, connected to the land, tradition and the history of both contemporary and religious art. He reminds me of a figure in a Woody Guthrie song, or a brother visionary to Ezekiel. He would not seem out of place working in the studio alongside Bruegel. A craftsman of the highest order. He is rooted, also, in language and perception.

Saying he is multidisciplinary is an understatement. On Jack’s blog you find his fine music, the animals he raises, the wood he fashions, the extraordinary lithographs, his paintings and drawings, the puppetry and hand-crafted soap. He works in both a visionary and folk tradition.

One of his drawings: Go On, Adam

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And woodwork: Persimmon Vessel

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Jack also documents life on the land and his artistic journey with rich, atmospheric photographs.

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Now we go to New York City and meet artist and therapist Sarah Valeri.

https://sarahvaleri.wordpress.com

Sarah is a licensed, registered and board certified Art Therapist. I can easily imagine how positive her influence is on the people she counsels.  Her brilliant colours and shapes reflect discovery and multidimensionality. Her drawings are in the tradition of the great ink artists. Her work reflects both technical skill and dreamlike imagination. Both drawings and paintings are imbued with intrigue.

 She also performs live, creating expressive mixed media artworks as part of the musical/visual art group Colorform. 

One of her paintings (with drawing): Our little heads will hold the last of the sky. c.2015. Oil and ball point pen on canvas, 35″ x 42″

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And a drawing: Retirement Plan – 2012. Ink on card stock, 7.25″ x 10.5″

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Sarah is involved in various energetic, collaborative ventures you can discover at her blog.

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Next we travel to Beckenham, UK.

I am also pleased to introduce the ultra-fine photographer Richard Guest who introduced my work to his readers.  Richard’s work is imbued with a sophisticated aesthetic, original visual approach, and feel for humanity. He creatively titles his works adding yet another level or dimension. He presents candid shots, street portraits, interviews, and digital paintings on his blog:

 https://thefutureispapiermache.wordpress.com/

 He also collaborates with Australian photographer Ashley Lily Scarlett. Their fascinating visual and thematic dialogue can be found on the blog: https://betweenscarlettandguest.wordpress.com/

One of Richard’s works: Wonderland, 2015

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And another recent work: No Language In Our Lungs, 2015

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As you can see, Richard’s work is multi-faceted and consistently intriguing.

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And now we have come to the end of ‘Blog Hop.’  Thank you for your participation.

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Constructing a Self-Referential Collage

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Moon shattering upon a highway her voice inside you.

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Her voice inside you, a falling stone.

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Her mountain stone an echo, your mouth erupting.

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Tattooed with Hittite song her skin barely visible, a windshield.

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Her Hittite moon evaporating, condensing upon your windshield.

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She confuses you while casting forth the vibrant song of singing birds.

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Birdsong at work within you, within a song-stone breeze, erupting.

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Her stone-sliding an echo.

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Almost a whisper

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Your voice evaporating & erupting, an engineering marvel.

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Lyrics on collage from ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’  https://vimeo.com/113869969

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You Send Me by Sam Cooke (& the Hamangian Cubists)

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Although cubistic, these artworks pre-date Cubism (and Sam Cooke) by roughly 7,000 years. Hamangia culture is a Late Neolithic archaeological culture of Dobruja (Romania and Bulgaria) between the Danube and the Black Sea and Muntenia in the south.

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Cubist image: Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), late Spring, 1910

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You Send Me by Sam Cooke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNco-e2CXuo

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 I do not claim credit or copyright for original source material in this post.
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If You Decide

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We need to learn an almost extinct language I will study with you.

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We need to live among the people whose language is almost lost I will join you and also learn traditional survival skills.

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To leave me for the shaman I will drive a stake through his medicine box, realize my grave error instantly, and escape, although barely.

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To beckon and summon, seducing me with whispers that reach into my blood, I will return.

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I must stand trial for my crimes against love and magic, I will escape, again.

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If you decide to hypnotize me while I sleep I will seal my heart against your vibrations and embrace the crazed dream of modernity. Because I am a fool. Weary of surviving on roots. Even the root of you. Even the root of me.

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If you decide I must seal my heart against the sounds you once made I will throw the window open a final time, upon your murmur coursing & drenched in starlight, intersected by a highway carrying the disappeared.

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If you decide to remain quiet I will train my ear to hear the sunlight falling.

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If you decide it is my duty to dig out the wooden stake I will return in the dead of night speaking an extinct language.

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Photo credit: Renee Perle, a Romanian Jewish girl who moved to Paris, is famous as the first muse of the famous French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986), who is considered one of the leading photographers of the 20th century.

http://www.romanianculture.org/personalities/Renee_Perle.htm

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Letters From Attica [an excerpt] by Sam Melville (1934 – 1971) & the Frederic Rzewski Composition ‘Coming Together’

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I think the combination of age and the greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

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it’s six months now and i can tell you truthfully few periods in my life have passed so quickly.

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i am in excellent physical and emotional health.

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there are doubtless subtle surprises ahead but i feel secure and ready.

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As lovers will contrast their emotions in times of crisis, so am i dealing with my environment.

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in the indifferent brutality, incessant noise, the experimental chemistry of food, the ravings of lost hysterical men, i can act with clarity and meaning.

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i am deliberate–sometimes even calculating–seldom employing histrionics except as a test of the reactions of others.

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i read much, exercise, talk to guards and inmates, feeling for the inevitable direction of my life.

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Sam Melville (Letters From Attica)

Above is how the spelling appears on more than one site.

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I narrated this text four years ago or so with professional musicians performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together & Attica.

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Sounding this text to the music was one of the most emotional things I’ve experienced: hypnotic, exhausting and exhilarating.

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Frederic Rzewski selected this body of text for his composition.

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A performance featuring narration by stage actor Steve Ben Israel with Frederic Rzewski on piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSuuwJFw4wU  The video opens in a new window so you can follow the text here if you wish.

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Credits and information about this recording: http://incessantnoise.blogspot.ca/2009/08/frederic-rzewski-coming-together.html

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Good Friday

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Jesus swayed to the music, grooving in the rain.

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Not yet a prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

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The rope he used whipping the parasites in the Temple

passed hand to hand.

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Like the very young, he also desired peace and love.

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The authorities posed him, for sport,

 in their carnival of madness.

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Roll away the stone.

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Before midnight.

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Before midnight,

a young artist storms the stage.

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Wearing red oak leaves,

 illuminating

the vast, glistening night.

casting

Unknown.

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Commingling with rain & shadows.

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Crying forth her gravelled composition.

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Melanie Safka performing Birthday of the Sun live at Woodstock (1969):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Bwz0idx7s

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Roll away the stone.

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Source material:

Christ’s Crucifixion by Diego Velaquez

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Photograph of

Abu Ghraib prisoner

@ Wikipedia.org

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Woodstock photo (detail) uncredited, found online.

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I’ve digitally recomposed new images for non-commercial

purposes of commentary.

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aeroplane

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Experiments at the Hadron Collider

were perhaps on my mind

as I digitally revised

the image of a crowd

observing an early flying machine.

various flights

The serendipity of the moment

was surprising.

I realized I wanted

to add text.

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The first page I turned to,

in the first book I opened,

a paperback I bought for one dollar

many years ago

titled

Cinema in Revolution,

mentioned the word aeroplane

almost immediately.

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‘Generally speaking the character of the local people helped us a lot.

They are very sensible.

Nothing surprises them; they continued about their business

without paying any attention to the camera.

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They did all the market scenes themselves,

at our request,

perfectly calmly and amiably

and exactly as we wanted.

They are really excellent people.

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When we needed to collect a large number of them

 together for the final scenes,

the aeroplane served as bait.

We offered them trips in the plane.

Well, as I say, nothing surprised them!

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They saw an aeroplane for the first time in their lives,

and they got into it as calmly as might be –

a man must not show that he is frightened of anything.

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As for the monks, the lamas, it was even more simple:

they said that all this had already existed long ago,

only men had not considered it useful,

so had forgotten it…

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Pudovkin was very impressed by all this.

We made the film,

with a very strong feeling

for all its living material.’

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Interview recorded in Moscow (1965)

with

Anatoli Goloynya – Cinematographer,

Storm Over Asia.

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Page 149, Cinema in Revolution,

Hill and Wang, 1973.

Edited by Luda and Jean Schnitzer

and Marcel Martin.

Translated by David Robinson.

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As a result of the Khrushchev cultural thaw

Russians were able to see the work

of the Soviet experimental filmmakers

for the first time

since they were suppressed

under Stalin.

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Director Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 1928 film

Storm Over Asia 

can be found on YouTube.

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In 1848,

an archaeological expedition working in Egypt

discovered hieroglyphs of flying machines

at an ancient temple in Abydos,

several hundred miles south of Cairo.

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I do not claim copyright to the original image

of spectators & the flying machine

(photographer unknown).

I have revised the image to create a new work

for non-commercial purposes.

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SAINTS IN MY RAIN by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

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I learned the rain in cursive slants

I learned 
lying on doubts

spread on the sacred and not

spread on my bed, my pillow, my exhale

the crust of every lie I loved

tainted with silver sliver of your tongue

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I turned that night on its back

after you went to bed

your streets indebted

to shadows of restless dreams

bruising on its replaced ribs

where trash collectors compress

disposed remnants

in the ruble

life’s severed limbs

an envy here

a longing there

a nothingness holier than my prayers

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and I add

that face without the lips

under the face with muffled shame

under the face I used to have

on heaps of unfinished poems

where a lemon tree and jasmine blossoms

promised mornings

colored and scented at my fingertips

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I learned the rain in every lie

in stammer of your pavements

where Saints gather in line at rock bottoms stacked

between my howl and a crow’s black squawk

wrists dripping prayers on St Rita’s solemn face

she sympathizes but says tonight she owns the ledge

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there’s always mad laughter at the foot of beds

where Saints sleep on their sides facing the drapes

that catch the city’s quieting breath

misting under street lamps

that catch impelled compromise

in bourbon shots and blues on a clarinet

as lonely as you

that time when you asked my name

sometimes I tell you

long after you’ve gone to bed

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Silva Zanoyan Merjanian is a widely published poet residing in Southern California. Her work is featured in international publications.  Silva’s  second volume of poetry Rumor will be released by Cold River Press in March 2015.

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