Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Frankenstein Monster

The Frankenstein monster
The lifeless; the dead
Seemed utterly harmless
with probes in his head
 A little of lightning
a bolt and a shock
 delivered the message
it’s time to wake up

The roar of the thunder
the crack of the shock
 he listened and heard them
just like a knock, knock

There’s  business for you
both scary and Grimm
a village to greet you
get going again.

He hurried; he worried
His efforts in vain
He grunted and growled
His brain was insane

He couldn’t remember the joy of a LIFE
The next thing he wanted you know was a wife
So quickly constructed
with bride and with friend
again starting over
his dreams to begin
but they too were shattered
when Bride say his face
this creature of science
could not find his place
He wished to belong
just one in the crowd
he ranted and raved
he shouted out loud
there’s no witches brew
or splendid, warm places
 His bride left him too
her beauty not wasted

The monster moved on
without kit or kin
he’s walking the Earth
resistant to sin
Avoiding each village
each hamlet and den
just can’t get connected
there’s never a  friend
You may see him soon
he’ll visit your town
Just some “thing” much scary
he rambles around

The ocean, the river, the light of the moon

Remarkable, distant, magnanimous goon

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dave Mckean: The Arcane The Image

To look into the art of Dave Mckean is to look into places of unlimited intrigue, depth and range. The works are window openings into a mysterious and arcane psyche. The portals are many and vast as a journey outward into the stars or equally inward to the micro biotic multi-verses. 

                                            Mckean seduces and captures with the creations of his unbridled talent and imagination. His worlds are mystical, magical potions of the best alchemy. Mirror Mask, The Sandman, Wolves in the Wall, Coraline are among the stories, novels and films of Dave Mckean. They are all collaborations in part with his colleague/friend; the much admired writer Neil Gaiman.
The work can be dark, foreboding and something strange as that of a counter-culture artist. Mckean’s art is not repellant like many other counter-culturists but inviting and dreamlike without being the stuff of nightmares.    

In 1993 DC Comics would introduce their now legendary line of graphic novels; Vertigo. Editor Karen Berger would enlist writer Neil Gaiman for the initial series of books; “Sandman.” The entire line of books including Gaiman’s “Sandman” were targeted for mature readers and are among the most popular and celebrated of the Horror/Fantasy genre. Dave Mckean would join “Sandman” as official cover artist mid-way through it’s run and his work would become the art most associated with “Sandman.” They are also among Mckean’s most recognizable and original creations. “Sandman would be described as:

“A comic strip for Intellectuals.”

Norman Mailer

Another author from the Vertigo Line; Grant Morrison had earlier (1989) penned the then radical hard-cover novel, “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.” His was a Dark Knight Tale remarkably conceived and illustrated with Mckean’s extraordinary graphics and evocative paintings. It remains a land-mark achievement and is in every sense a classical marriage of prose and image.

As a film maker; Mckean’s seminal work to date is “Mirror Mask.” It is yet another brilliant collaboration with Neil Gaiman and The Jim Henson Company. The plot is a variation of Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” The look is visually stunning with the definitive style of Mckean’s best product. It is memorable as a cult film with a distinct “indie” flavor. 

The reflective study of the works of Dave Mckean is a perfect start for a breezy October evening and then on; into the night.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Puryear Papers

If you were to look at Martin Puryear as the pains-taking, attention to detail craftsman that he is; that would be fine. You could; in theory, view his work as decorative objects designed to adorn a room or space with a truth of grace and beauty. He can also represent the last of the artist as hands on interpreter of the world and the glories of life. Martin Puryear is all of these; he is in every reality many things more. 

 Martin  Puryear speaks eloquently through his pieces that seem to be glorious over-sized works that were they created on a smaller scale be some useful hand held thing or tool. His works would be no less beautiful were they smaller; no less engaging.  The scales of the objects are amazing as single pieces adequately consume entire galleries. Walking among the works is to inhabit a place of wonder and artistry in the purest form. His efforts are of world class elegance and he is surely admired around the globe. Wood is the primary material of choice for Martin Puryear. Stone, wire mesh, and rawhide are known by his hands as well. He is adventurous in his choices of materials as well as in his range of creations.



I was first introduction to Mr. Puryear through the pages of Ebony Magazine in a nineteen seventies article noting praise-worthy contemporary African-American Artists. His works do sometimes speak to his heritage as a former resident of Washington DC and a Black American. His piece “Ladder for Booker T. Washington” is a particular and exceptional example of his acknowledgement of the shared American and Black Histories. The ladder (431” x 22” x 3”) is created from a single sapling split in two and joined by rungs. The work is an optical illusion of sorts as it bends and turns from the 22” base to about 1.25” at the piece’s apex. The cultures of many nations have influenced and informed the works of martin Puryear. Sierra Leone, Sweden, Japan and France are among the countries he has lived in, studied and embraced “The Family of Man.” He works reflect the sensibilities of an amazing world citizen.

The PBS series   art : 21   chose Martin Puryear as one of their first artist’s to be profiled. He was awarded “The National Medal of Arts” by President Barack Obama. Several great museums including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC have honored Mr. Puryear with retrospectives. He was recently part of the highest priced auction in history when Christies scored an amazing $745 million in sells. $1.8 million of the total came from the sale of a Puryear piece. Congratulations to Mr. Puryear for all his awards and achievements as he continues in his efforts. He is making a difference for the positive in the world; he is doing very well.  

“At a certain point, I just put the building and the art impulse together. I decided that building was a legitimate way to make sculpture.”
                                                                                                                    Martin Puryear