A crossing point for ideas, words, images, and energies

Joel-Peter Witkin and Paul Sutton

Joel-Peter Witkin, “The Poet”

Response by Paul Sutton


This image and poem are reproduced, with permission from the poet and editor, from Nerve Damage, edited by Rupert Loydell, an anthology of poems in response to Joel-Peter Witkin’s photograph “The Poet.”  Ordering information for the anthology:
UK: £5.00 per copy, cheques payable to ‘R.M. Loydell’ 

USA; $10 bill per copy, to onclude postage

Available from:
Stride, 4B Tremayne Close, Devoran, Cornwall TR3 6QE, England

Leslie Alfin and Andrew Allport

Leslie Alfin, “Of Nutshells and Nuance”


Leslie Alfin Artist Statement


of nutshells and nuance

When a personal story is told, is it in confidence? Is it told under the veil of anonymity? Do we carefully select who will hear the most intimate details of our lives? Do we trust that those who we have privileged with this information will cherish it as we do?

“of nutshells and nuance” explores the nature and impacts of storytelling in managing our lives and the paradoxical transformations that occur in the quality and definitions of experience as personal stories migrate back and forth between the virtual and the material.



“of nutshells and nuance” was conceived at the request of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Innovation Team. It is one in a series of 3 large installations that will appear in the InFUSION Project Space within their new Brooklyn Infusion Center. All three installations were to be developed around the concept of “storytelling”.

“of nutshells and nuance” began as a blog where, over the course of the summer of 2010, people could share their stories.

Stories were submitted that told of life, love, birth, death, fear, addiction and redemption. Collectively they present a provocative demonstration of the tensions between intimacy, anonymity, truth, and fantasy–all underpinned and enabled by the paradoxical dialectics afforded by our relationship with the virtual.


Response by Andrew Allport



Leslie Alfin is a multimedia artist who investigates the paradoxical impacts of a techno-driven economy on individuals, society, culture, environment and the greater biosphere.  Andrew Allport won the 2011 New Issues Poetry Prize for the body | of space | in the shape of the human.

Yahia Lababidi and Brian Dupont

The “Show and Tell” project in its first form had poets responding to the work of artists, and in one of the pairings Yahia Lababidi responded to a painting called “Record,” by artist Brian Dupont.  Now that dialogue is carried further, with a painting by Dupont, made in response to the poem Lababidi wrote in response to “Record.”  Here, then, in sequence, are Dupont’s original painting, Lababidi’s response to it, Dupont’s response to Lababidi’s poem, and a statement by Dupont about this new painting.

“Monochrome (Pale Fire)”


I find and manipulate text through the painting process, breaking up easily read language through the staccato of mis-registered stencils and layers of paint. Working from Yahia Lababidi’s poetic response to my painting Record, I kept the structure of his stanzas but disassembled the words to fit my attenuated format. I picked a few different single words from each line of the poem and layered them back and forth, building up the horizontal registers of language into a mass of color. As I layered the various reds through the painting, the obvious reference to fire gave way to thinking about how Nabokov’s unreliable narrator similarly misinterpreted and altered another’s words to generate his own meaning.


Both works by Dupont will be included in the show “Appropriated Texts” at the Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington, MD.  Brian Dupont is a painter in New York, and Yahia Lababidi is the author of Fever Dreams.

Margery Amdur and Laurie Saurborn Young

Margery Amdur, “Wisp 5”


Margery Amdur Artist Statement

I am a maker of stuff.  I have a baroque sensibility. I work with common easily accessible materials.  I stretch the meaning of traditional painting to create hybrid objects. I am interested in creating sensuous and visually captivating objects that engage spectators on a purely visceral level.


In my older installation work, I worked with aluminum window screen wire as my primary material-it was very utilitarian but had wonderful ephemeral illusory qualities as well as being a translucent material that if bended and sewn in a certain manner could stand on its own without a more durable under structure. When creating this work, I wanted to make the viewer feel a sense of wonder and perplexity.  For example “This looks like a chair, but there exists no structure that should allow it to stand—what relationship does this object have to the real world?  Is it a ghost, an apparition, a fleeting moment?


In my more current work, once again, I am working with a manufactured commodity. The “Paint-By-Number” template represents some of the ordinary ways that middle class people in the 1950’s filled their leisure time. This body of work originated when I bought several “Paint-By-Number” kits, read the instructions, followed them, and continued to purposefully do so over the course of several months. It was during this process that I teased myself back into working with color and on a two dimensional picture plane. Beginning with the template of the “Paint-by-Number” matrix demands that I reflect on where and when “art” starts to emerge when working with a formula. I am interested in the distinction between the “unique” artwork and one that is commercially produced. By working in this manner, I initially feel a sense of relief-just following the directions and seeing what materializes. It becomes a “sort-of” meditation—my mind can wander and other ideas, more personal ones, emerge, percolate, and take over. It is at this point that I take that necessary leap of faith–one where there is room for me to negotiate a visual landscape between abstraction and representation.


With regard to my public art projects, I remain interested in mass produced objects, the two dimensional picture (floor) plane, and images appropriated from “Paint-By-Number” templates. In addition I tackle questions as to how I can stay true to my more “self-evolved” studio practice yet expand it to include a more diverse audience.  How can my personal art-making processes remain laced with nuances when the final product is viewed on a monumental scale? Where is that place where personal meaning intersects with public consciousness, and how do I as an artist creatively reconcile this dilemma?


Response by Laurie Saurborn Young


Margery Amdur has had over 50 solo and two-person exhibitions, across the U.S. and in Turkey, England, and Hungary.  Laurie Saurborn Young is a photographer and the author of the poetry collection Carnavoria.

Ien Dobbelaar and Michelle Boisseau

Ien Dobbelaar, untitled photograph


Ien Dobbelaar Artist Statement

The human being in all its aspects frequently appears in Ien’s work.

Power and simplicity are very important in her work. She moves on the boundaries of recognizable and unrecognizable. She uses oil paint and a very limited palette, so that her work breathes peace, the whole becomes modest.

Her endeavours are to represent a deeper dimension: watching becomes contemplation.


Her three-dimensional work has the same amount of fragility. She works with different materials, such as plaster, steel, fabric. It ranges from small sculptures to installations.

The last two years she made short videos and a great number of photoseries. Subject in her videos and photos are the elderly (the solitude, but also the beauty of the last years of life) often combined with images of small children. The feature of Ien’s photowork is the way she works with her camera: she prefers simple, out-of-focus and often black and white images.


Ien: “A piece of art gets its value by memory, remainders and reflections of a personality. An analytical approach of my work would increase the distance. By using simple images and eye-catching details I want to express a feeling of confusion about hope in this life. I try to touch the remainders of human life, left “luggage” and human characters and by doing so, let the viewer feel and think about it.”


Response by Michelle Boisseau

Ien Dobbelaar studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague, and has shown her work in Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S.  Michelle Boisseau teaches at the University of Missouri – Kansas City; her latest book is A Sunday in God-Years.

Christopher Leitch and Supriya Bhatnagar

Christopher Leitch, “2 breaths”


Christopher Leitch Artist Statement

I am working with random materials and indeterminate processes, and I never know what anything is going to look like.This uncertainty is liberating and invigorating.


Response by Supriya Bhatnagar


Christopher Leitch is currently the director of the Kansas City Museum. His textiles, drawings and installations have been exhibited across the United States at the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, the Baltimore Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of New Hampshire Gallery of Art, among many others.  Supriya Bhatnagar is Director of Publications at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and author of And Then There Were Three….

Leah Hardy and Christine Gelineau

Leah Hardy, “Listen”


Leah Hardy Artist Statement

Childhood labors of love included making shoebox dioramas, assembling insect collections and creating secret spaces; these innate endeavors have greatly inspired my artwork as an adult.  My sculpture is a visual diary for commentary on daily occurrences, dreams, travels and human interaction—where I try to make sense of the world and its mysterious events in a poetic, distilled narrative manner.  Fragments of the human body, flora/fauna and everyday objects are integrated into surreal shrine like settings to memorialize strange—and wonderful—life experiences.


Response by Christine Gelineau


Grown in Oz amongst cornstalks and cows, Leah Hardy is an artist who makes her home in the West but enjoys traveling to the East to be amongst sacred cows.  Christine Gelineau is the author of Appetite for the Divine (2010) and Remorseless Loyalty (2006), both from Ashland Poetry Press.


Garry Noland and Jonathan Farmer

Garry Noland, Abbreviated Map of Carnival, Tarts and Whores – Pt. 3


Garry Noland Artist Statement

These works refer to two themes. Initially I think of my grandmothers’ quilts and rugs made from scraps of used cloth. They wouldn’t have called themselves artists but they did what artists do. They transform material and experience into new identities.

Secondly I recall something Galway Kinnell wrote: the only human context is the non-human world. We can, he said, learn about ourselves by learning about the non-human part of nature. Our most basic human attitudes mimic the globe we live on. The continents, because we are ON them, are seen as positive. The seas become “not positive” or negative. The waters erode the land with the land pushes back the water resulting in a continuously changing drawing. Each requires the other for definition.

This positive/negative relationship could be our primer for us/them arguments. People require a “them” to define the “us”.  This should negate the good/evil stance individuals and cultures make when comparisons are considered. The leap, then, is to conclude that the continents we ride on and the water around us are like letters…the letters of the alphabet AND the continents require the “negative” spaces. We assign and derive meaning from and to both. The globe is a text.

Nature’s subtractive/additive processes informs the sculptural work. Layers of National Geographic magazines are stacked up, mimicking, for instance, the kind of record-keeping one sees in sedimentary pages of limestone.

Pattern is important in the newest work. Pattern relies on the aforementioned system of positive and negative equalities. While there are abundant random patterns in nature, much less random are patterns of process in nature. The rhythms of daily/seasonal change, tidal flow and migrations are examples of pattern that make chance possible.

Pattern describes process.


Response by Jonathan Farmer


Garry Noland makes art in Kansas City.  Jonathan Farmer is the founder and Editor of At Length magazine.

Doug Russell and Andrew Joron

Doug Russell,”Ebb and Flow #1″


Doug Russell Artist Statement

In past the six years I have explored two major creative directions: entangled and knotted natural forms, and monumental architectural compositions.  Both bodies of work ultimately are meditations upon structure, repetition, and variation.  Conceptually both the imagery and process of the work express and describe the universal cycle of germination/construction, growth/expansion, overcrowding/decay, and renewal.  Both directions were initially based in observational drawing but quickly expanded into imagined and invented realities.  More specifically the work balances transparency and opacity, rootedness and mobility, freedom and entanglement, surface and depth, and the legibility and erosion of form.  The drawings, paintings, installations, and constructions which have resulted from this creative inquiry utilize both traditional and less traditional forms and media.  Throughout this work I have stayed deeply rooted to the tradition of drawing while allowing influences from printmaking, painting, and sculpture to enhance my investigations.


The organically focused work, which began as simple observational studies, developed over time into a somewhat unnatural confluence of forms taken from both flora and fauna sources.  My intention was to create something both attractive and disturbing.  This body of work progressed through several series and eventually evolved into four twenty foot long panoramas for an exhibition at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Michigan.


Whereas the organic drawings investigate growth and expansion in the natural world, my architectural work focuses on cycles of building and ruin.  In the “Empire” series, thoughts of empires past, present, and future guides my choices in creating a visual language of colossal forms which are simultaneously coming into and fading from existence.  In these drawings and paintings, I explore an improvisational approach to building images of invented monumental architecture paralleling my approach in the entangled organic drawings.  This process often continues to a point where the image erodes leaving only vestiges of the initial form.  This contemplation of the simultaneous construction and destruction of manmade form stems from my experience living for two years in Turkey, a country which I still return to and explore every other summer.  In Turkey there is a wealth of ruin and renewal.  Anatolia has seen numerous civilizations wash across its soil, from the Etruscans, Hittites and Greeks, to the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.  Each laid down its foundations on the previous.  Each left evidence of past grandeur.  Today the layered landscape that remains reveals this epic ebb and flow of construction and devastation.


In the end, both of my creative directions become entertaining visual puzzles to solve while reflecting upon the liminal state between permanence and impermanence, between creation and ruin.


Response by Andrew Joron

Painting and architecture both articulate a poetics of space: visual space in the case of painting, and environmental space in the case of architecture. Both have something to say about space––but painting about architecture takes the conversation to another level. In the Renaissance, painters created a new visual vocabulary from the perspectives of classical architecture, and in a feedback loop, used these perspectives to portray architectural subjects in the golden light of the golden mean. Nonetheless, even after the invention of perspective, spatial depth in painting remains a mere reflection of reality, whereas in architecture the play of depth takes place in reality itself. Painting, in the syntax of architecture, is a window onto another world. But the space of architecture is the space of the world itself. Painting operates at a remove from the world: it is a kind of writing, a series of marks whose interpretation revises only subjective space, whereas architecture revises both subjective and objective space. Is painting therefore a lesser art? The practice of certain artists, like Piranesi and Desiderio, in representing a fantastic architecture––imagining edifices that could never be constructed in the real world––seems to offer a riposte to architecture’s claims to completeness. For the depiction of fantastic architecture reminds us that reality is incomplete, and that the imagination alone can access the world’s unrealized possibilities and, more than that, the impossible itself. Architecture can only rearrange the stones of the world, whereas painting can imagine a stone suspended in mid-air. Architecture is finally forced to reconcile itself with the world’s dominant powers, both physical and socio-economic. Painting need not do so. In Doug Russell’s paintings, architectural forms conglomerate in a non-Euclidean space; indeed, the admixture of elements from different architectural eras bespeaks a nonlinear temporality as well. Yet, space-time in Russell’s work is not so harshly fractured as in the work of the Cubists and Cubo-futurists; instead, Russell’s nonlinearity is more cohesive, more organic, as if a naturalism of a higher order was being formulated here. The tonalities belong to the same register, shading and seeping into one another: it is a pale, history-colored light that pervades the scene, a scene autumnally stained by the blood of that eyeless, weightless Vitruvian animal whose portraits these are. Here, there are only exteriors swinging around an invisible interior: the center holds so long as it remains invisible. Every building its own dynamo! If the entrances are entranced, the exits cannot exist.


Doug Russell lives and works in Laramie, Wyoming, where he directs the drawing program at the University of Wyoming.  Andrew Joron‘s most recent book is Trance Archive.

Sreshta Rit Premnath and Debra Di Blasi

Sreshta Rit Premnath, “A Cage Went in Search of a Bird”


Sreshta Rit Premnath Artist Statement

By engaging with forms of interrogation and representation, my work explores how otherness is constituted through complex matrices of knowledge, power, subjugation, and mediation.


Response by Debra Di Blasi

Somewhere on the briny deck’s a boy yanking cable or rope and licking his lips bitter of nights pretending the dead never mattered. Only the redblack blood round his thumbnail says otherwise. Though it’s his bleeding what’s left of memory. Were the sun hot were the sun seamed he’d shake it all off smudge it with the back of his hand across his brow and let the blood be to dry and flake. Only then too he thinks what happened wouldn’t because because see that spot of teal where’s their blood sank in absence of us neverbeens sometimes scratch a spot on my cheek that blushes or bleeds but there’ll be no scabs or scars oh the idea’s the revelation’s soon gone sloshed and slipped over the deck or in the stoop of a sailor smoking squinting hard at what’s not there to feel the pleasure of his vice. That’s it, he thinks, what remembering’s got to: a vice a vice that lets the cable or rope slide burnless through his hands and what little’s started’s already left of his life so that he says aloud at the wake a knife’s edge: The stars are washing toward us and we’ve not been here long enough to disappear.


Sreshta Rit Premnath lives and works in New York City. He is the founder and editor of the magazine ShifterDebra Di Blasi is the author of five fiction collections and is founding publisher of Jaded Ibis Press.