Charming drawings by Sylvia Plath on exhibit now at The Mayor Gallery in London. If you go to the site you can read scant excerpts from her diaries about her delineations. At one point she says, regarding a view, “Felt I knew that view though, through the fiber of my hand.”
- Such tender, mundane subjects, but elevated by how decisively they’re drawn. Sketches like this which could double as woodcuts and feel so intentional and focused, you can almost sense the underlying anxiety (if you were presumptuous enough).
- Isn’t Ted Hughes effing gorgeous.
- That cat, leaning around the line…
- Frieda Plath talks a bit about her mother’s drawings here
And, here, one of her poems-one of the few that I like, only in this case, love:
It is ten years, now, since we rowed to Children’s Island.
The sun flamed straight down that noon on the water off Marblehead.
That summer we wore black glasses to hide our eyes.
We were always crying, in our spare rooms, little put-upon sisters,
In the two huge, white, handsome houses in Swampscott.
When the sweetheart from England appeared, with her cream skin and Yardley cosmetics,
I had to sleep in the same room with the baby on a too-short cot,
And the seven-year-old wouldn’t go out unless his jersey stripes
Matched the stripes of his socks.
O it was richness!—eleven rooms and a yacht
With a polished mahogany stair to let into the water
And a cabin boy who could decorate cakes in six-colored frosting.
But I didn’t know how to cook, and babies depressed me.
Nights, I wrote in my diary spitefully, my fingers red
With triangular scorch marks from ironing tiny ruchings and puffed sleeves.
When the sporty wife and her doctor husband went on one of their cruises
They left me a borrowed maid named Ellen, ‘for protection’,
And a small Dalmatian.
In your house, the main house, you were better off.
You had a rose garden and a guest cottage and a model apothecary shop
And a cook and a maid, and knew about the key to the bourbon.
I remember you playing ‘Ja Da’ in a pink piqué dress
On the gameroom piano, when the ‘big people’ were out,
And the maid smoked and shot pool under a green-shaded lamp.
The cook had one wall eye and couldn’t sleep, she was so nervous.
On trial, from Ireland, she burned batch after batch of cookies
Till she was fired.
O what has come over us, my sister!
On that day-off the two of us cried so hard to get
We lifted a sugared ham and a pineapple from the grownups’ icebox
And rented an old green boat. I rowed. You read
Aloud, crosslegged on the stern seat, from the Generation of Vipers.
So we bobbed out to the island. It was deserted—
A gallery of creaking porches and still interiors,
Stopped and awful as a photograph of somebody laughing,
But ten years dead.
The bold gulls dove as if they owned it all.
We picked up sticks of driftwood and beat them off,
Then stepped down the steep beach shelf and into the water.
We kicked and talked. The thick salt kept us up.
I see us floating there yet, inseparable—two cork dolls.
What keyhole have we slipped through, what door has shut?
The shadows of the grasses inched round like hands of a clock,
And from our opposite continents we wave and call.
Everything has happened.
Two dining scenes. Above: Diane Arbus (1923 – 1971), Woman at a counter, smoking, New York City, 1962, © Diane Arbus (Howard Nemerov was her brother!).
And below: Alfred Henry Maurer (1868 – 1932). The Rendevouz. Maurer took his life in 1932; Arbus in 1971.
Top: Telephone. Bottom: Piano. By Eric Rondepierre from the series “Suites.”
La Crue. Eric Rondepierre from the series “Diptyka.” With both “Diptyka” and “Suites,” Eric cut “directly into the film reels and framed the space between two images, which naturally creates an inversion between the upper and lower part of the frame.” More images and more about these series here and here.
Top: Seuil. Bottom: Eden. By Eric Rondepierre from the series “Parties communes.” With this series he combined images from silent films of the early 20th century with photos he had taken in his daily life. More photos here!
Confidence. Eric Rondepierre from the series “Moires”, which prints film that has corroded over time. The frames come from colorized films in the Montreal archives. More about “Moires” here.
Above image grabbed from Lens Culture’s slideshow of selections from Paris Photo 2011. Kodak Bromesko London, exact expiration date unknown, c.1950, processed in 2011, © Alison Rossiter, Courtesey Stephen Bulger Gallery.
Next three: Alison Rossiter, Fuji Gaslight, exact expiration date unknown, ca. 1920s, processed in 2010. Her site doesn’t explain much, but it seems she processes old expired photo paper and these are the gorgeous results.
And the following from Lens Culture’s slideshow of selections from Paris Photo 2011. Tornado, The Quiet of Dissolution, 2005, © Sonja Braas, Courtesy Gallerie Tanit.
If Art would only talk it would, at last, reveal
itself for what it is, what we all burn to know.
As for our certainties, it would fetch a dry yawn
then take a minute to sweep them under the rug:
certainties time-honored as meaningless as dust
under the rug. High time, my dears, to listen up.
Finally Art would talk, fill the sky like a mouth,
clear its convulsive throat while flashes and crashes
erupted as it spoke—a star-shot avalanche of
visions in uproar, drowned by the breathy din
of soundbites as we strain to hear its august words:
“a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z.”
~ Dorthea Tanning
photo caption: Rome Relics 1952, Robert Rauschenberg.
Six days a week my father sold shoes
To support our family through depression and war,
Nursed his wife through years of Parkinson’s,
Loved nominal cigars, manhattans, long jokes,
Never kissed me, but always shook my hand.
Once he came to visit me when a Brandenburg
Was on the stereo. He listened with care—
Brisk melodies, symmetry, civility, and passion.
When it finished, he asked to hear it again,
Moving his right hand in time. He would have
Risen to dance if he had known how.
“Beautiful,” he said when it was done,
My father, who’d never heard a Brandenburg.
Eighty years old, bent, and scuffed all over,
Just in time he said, “That’s beautiful.”
~ Arja Hyytiäinen. For more, go here. Tonight, for all the thousand words each picture tells, I have none to tell back with; will let these photos have their say.
~ Arja Hyytiäinen. I love how the photo goes right to the top edge, spills into and merges with it, with the rainy sky outside, or at least it looks like water droplets on the blurry window behind the sugar shaker. And the red square napkin in a diamond shape, and that it looks like the dining car of a train I’d love to be on.
~ Anna Atkins, 1799-1871. Algae cyanotype. Love how these and the next few posts of Atkins’ work look like xrays or sunprints from another planet—it winds up emphasizing the alien beauty of these plants, not just presenting them face on.
Atkins is considered the first woman photographer and the author of the first photographic book. How can you not love someone who put out three volumes of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions?
Well, she was a botanist, so the fact that she hopped on to this method—cyanotypes, invented in 1842—isn’t so far out. It seems like it was thought of as a kind of xerox machine for engineers’ blueprints and drawings, originally. But Anna Atkins placed plants directly onto the chemical-soaked paper, resulting in this silhouette you see. For more on the process of making a cyanotype, see this Wiki.
I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for...