Since my last post, the monsoons have come in earnest. After last season’s severe flooding, the small river on which I live was dredged to a much greater depth and we can only hope the rapidly passing river stays well within its new channel. However, during the intermittent rains and the rise of fall of the river, its ever-changing currents, I’ve been given the opportunity to create another series of photographic images. MAEMNAN: Of Water, Of Light
Maenam is the Thai word for river.
Mae is ‘mother’ and nam is ‘water’
Mother of the water.
And the book, Where Everything Is Water As Far As He Can See, is now available through Marrowstone Press and Amazon. As I mentioned in my last posting, this is my second collaboration with poet and writer, Peter Weltner.
Pond, oil on canvas, 155 x 180 cm, 2010
included in Where Everything Is Water As Far As He can See
“Where Everything Is Water as Far as He Can See is a collaboration between the artist Galen Garwood and the poet Peter Weltner. Fifteen of Garwood’s paintings are reproduced, not as illustrations but as illuminations of and reflections upon Weltner’s three long poems, which all meditate upon life by the sea. The poetry and visual images speak to one another, as in a dialogue. The theme of the book is in part elegiac, a remembrance of friends lost. As you grow older, your past walks beside you, as if hand in hand. Or it meets you in unexpected places where those who have died wait for you. Garwood’s and Weltner’s book is a work of memory of a world that calls them back, an elemental world as much as a human one, of sky and trees, sun and water.”
THE ONE-WINGED BODY/ Peter Weltner and Galen Garwood,
Marrowstone Press 2011
“GALEN GARWOOD and PETER WELTNER have made a Valentine to Beauty and Arousal with photographs and poetry that are beautiful and aroused. Words italicized by arousal. Nakedness articulated by folds of cloth, a dialogue of flesh and flow that signals classical antiquity, but also the mystical inwardness of Mary’s mantel. If the body is a language, here it speaks, in itself, of happiness, fulfillment, lush utopia. Arousal is the wing that carries it upward. “Not wisdom through suffering but awe.”
But desire ignited by beauty, desire that submits to beauty—that’s another story, a story that may involve destruction, obsession and loss. And memory: our culture’s visual memory, like the pictorialist photographs of Imogen Cunningham or the “ethnographic studies of young natives” by Baron von Gloeden, who also carried his camera to Sicily, and personal memory, like the Ronnie’s and Bob’s of Weltner’s past.
John Keats called beauty truth. Is it? Weltner and Garwood are not suspicious of beauty, belittled by it, made ironic by it. What do we do with beauty?—submit to it, aspire to it, be ennobled by it, be destroyed by it? All of these.”
Both books are published under the Marrowstone Press imprint and coming soon is MORRIS GRAVES: His Houses, His Gardens. This will be a large, handsome book with photographs, including many by Mary Randlett, one of our most important Northwest photographers. We are currently in the fund-raising stage and anyone wishing to contribute, please visit The Morris Graves Book project.
This book has been a long and dedicated journey. It was written by Morris Graves’s friend Richard Svare and it chronicles Graves’s four remarkable habitations. “The extraordinary gardens that Morris Graves created at his private residences throughout his life were works of art in themselves that deserve to stand alongside his marvelous paintings. A fiercely private person, Graves would not allow images of his homes and gardens to be published during his lifetime and those few fortunate enough to visit the famously reclusive artist were deeply moved by the experience. Richard Svare’s sensitively crafted book offers an unprecedented insight into Morris Graves’ personal artistic environment.” Ray Kass, author of Morris Graves: Vision of the Inner Eye, Braziller, NY, 1983
My friend, Merch Pease, became literary executor of the book when Richard died in 2004, three years after the death of Morris Graves. We began discussing producing the Morris Graves book in 2005 and since then we’ve developed a strong project team, with The Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) embracing the project and becoming our fiscal sponsor; poet and editor, Bill O’Daly, acting as chief editor; Process Media, participating as co-publishers of the book… and many friends generous with their advice and input.
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PROJECTS at FACEBOOK
It was only after creating the entity and with the coming of my first collaboration with Peter Weltner, The One-Winged Body, that I saw an opportunity to expand on an interest I’ve long had—collaborating, as a visual artist, with poets and writers. My first taste of this was many years ago with a book called Passport (Broken Moon Press, 1989), a book of my paintings and poems by Sam Hamill. We did another book soon after entitled Mandala (Milkweed Editions, 1991) which featured black and white mono-types and poems by Sam Hamill. This publication was an homage to Morris Graves. I’ve also done several collaborative books with the late poet and filmmaker James Broughton, the subject of the new documentary Big Joy.
I fully believe in the importance of nurturing collaborative projects of this kind, often over-looked by larger publishing houses. The importance of art remains constant wherever and however it is found.