In Other Words

I liked curator Doug Stapleton’s wall text from The Leaf and The Page, quite a bit:

In Melissa Jay Craig’s sculptures, her compositional elements (books, trees, pages, leaves) are conflated into a visual and metaphorical cross-play of associations. Book spines become trunks, or, as in …a memoir in this exhibition, pages the rotting hollow of a tree with suggestions of regenerative growth.

Strength, rot and decay, and, notably, the next cycle of growth, are imaged in the silent, meditative orms of her sculptural books. In That’s Life, the decaying book/tree sprouts vivid pages of fungi that are reminiscent of a re-reading of a beloved volume, or a reminder of the power of text to rebound with fresh insight

There is another referent in Craig’s work implied by the titles that calls to mind our own life cycle: our memories, histories and physical changes over time. Craig’s investigations into that larger cultural narrative, our metaphoric reading of our human experience as mirrored in nature’s steady seasonal process, call to mind the first stanza of Dylan Thomas’ poem, ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’:

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Drives my green age; that blasts the

roots of trees

Is my destroyer.

And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose

My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

Sometimes Other’s Words can help, particularly when, like now, I’m so often feeling like this:

Oddly, it’s frequently other Other’s Words that produce the feeling of needing to live behind a wall, or of deliberately disappearing into the surroundings.  That occurs when offered words are blatantly false, syrupy words of “support”, thoroughly and consistently belied by actions.  Such dysfunctional dances can make us ill. Political lies are poisonous, and in the US, through November, we’ll be inundated with them on a meta-scale. Understand this: politicians really do believe we are stupid enough to swallow it whole. Maintaining an appearance of having heartily eaten, to keep from being arrested, fired, deported or otherwise “disappeared” can be as debilitating as actually swallowing.

I don’t know any way through it, other than to keep covertly moving forward against the tide, overtly speaking through making, and to always, always find reasons to laugh. Humor isn’t a cure, but it can chip away at facades, poke holes in a culture of fear and falseness.

O’ course, I could have it all wrong, and Doug’s lovely words could be reduced to “art by old fart”. That could be humor, or that could be a side effect of swallowing the pill, eh?



4 thoughts on “In Other Words

  1. Doug did a great job!! Though it’s easy to write well about strong work, I think. Always great to have a curator who really gets your work.

    As for the current climate back home, just from what I’m getting on this side of the globe makes me sick. I can’t imagine how awful it is living through it right now.

  2. sticks and stones may break my bones, but nasty words from others may make me psychotic and i’ll hunt them down and decimate them.


    what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  3. “Humor isn’t a cure, but it can chip away at facades, poke holes in a culture of fear and falseness.”

    And keep one sane.

    With goofy politics on both sides of the border, it’s a darned good thing that today was International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

    Arrrrrrggggghhhhh, me hearties……. 🙂

  4. Aye, me maties, thanks for the feedback!
    “What canna be cured must be endured” but you can also keep searching for the cure, yes?

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