Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alan Lau, Marc Wenet, Suzanne Wolfe: Poetry in Word and Image

when three voices merge and mingle

"This is my language," Marc Wenet made a grand gesture at the small wooden assemblages mounted on the gallery walls at Francine Seders'. Every now and then Seders hosts an after-hours gathering in her namesake gallery, situated on the outside of the bend in the road where Phinney and Greenwood Avenue jog together to hug one of our fave burger joints, Red Mill. Over the years we've gathered at Francine's not only for artist receptions, but also for French conversation, or as was the case last Tuesday a merging-of-minds-and-voices salon.

For his latest show Wenet published a book with photos of his work, Alan Lau's poems and an essay by British born novelistSuzanne Wolfe.
The sculptor, who has worked with found or discarded materials since the beginning of his career, saw more natural elements entering his oeuvre after coming to Seattle from Chicago. All pieces in the show at Seders' are created out of weathered wood. Many of the assemblages show faded coats of paint. Combined with measured slices of color; a narrow strip of red, a repetition of creamy rings or red bars cascading like steps to somewhere, each piece invites meditation.

Lau said writing poetry to go with the artwork was a challenge. "For yourself you write what you want to write. But it's good to feel uncomfortable, good to go places where you normally won't go." He read some poems he created for Wenet's artwork, and a few more from his own book Blue and Greens: a produce worker's journal, beginning and ending the sequence with the shaking of what? A box of sunflowers seeds perhaps, so appropriate for a Greengrocer Poet.

Wolfe who said Wenet's artwork "spoke" to her, kept her contribution a surprise to be discovered in the book. Her mesmerizing voice transported us to fourth Century Carthage when the man who would become known as Saint Augustine lusted after the young daughter of a mosaic layer and lived with her for fifteen years before sending her packing. Can't wait to hear more of that work in process.

At Francine Seders Gallery, the language of art, poetry and prose is joined by it's inspiration, Wenet's poetic assemblages.

How do you see poetry, how do you read art?

Mark Wenet will give a talk about his artwork on Saturday May 1st at 2 p.m.Francine Seders Gallery 6701 Greenwood Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103-5294 (206) 782-0355

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chocoloate Pudding, Aioli + the Art of B.S.

At Odd Fellows Hall smack beside Elliott Bay Book Company's new home on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Plenty in time for PEN World Voices reading (more about that later) we opted for dinner at The Tin Cafe. The hanger steak, which I had vowed never to order again in a restau (tough chewing at Le Pichet, CafePresse, Cafe Campagne) was the very best I've had in this city. The chard with sauteed button mushrooms delicious. The spring chicken served with excellent potato mash and buttered carrots was tender but not outstanding in flavor (which works to my favor since I'm intolerant to many spices).
A can of shoe string fries was cooked just a tad too brown (one notch) and instead of the aioli mentioned on the menu we got plain mayo, that was a disappointment, I love my aioli!
The waiter claimed any sauce of this mixture would basically be called aioli. Eh, get out of here, garlic makes aioli aioli!
His remark made me think of something I read recently (but where) about the uncanny ability of men (in general ha, ha) to claim knowledge where they have none. Even my husband calls that B.S.-ing by the way. Harry G. Frankfurt wrote a book about the art of B.S., titled On Bullshit.
Still very enjoyable meal in Grand Cafe/ Belgium cafe style open space. Even the acoustics (noisy!) didn't turn us off. And the pudding was yumbo yummy! As good as my mom's and that says something.

How do you react as a cook/ chef/ gourmand when a waiter is trying to sell you B.S. Send him back to the kitchen?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ghostwriter Escapes the Garden Shed

Five years ago I created the Tuin van Mariënhof garden blog for my friends Jeannette and Meinoud Dijkema. It all started when I learned that they planned to open the gate to the garden of their monumental estate de Mariënhof to paying visitors. All they had at the time was a simple flier. That they would attract many more interested people if they had Internet presence was obvious. An avid gardener myself I derived great joy from finding relevant information to link to the posts I created from their email messages. Today, the total number of posts, including those I wrote on my own, is 270.

The goal, to create an effective Web presence has been reached. Even although hardly anyone leaves a comment, we know thanks to Feedjit (see right hand margin of blog) that people from all over the globe wind up at the virtual or real Mariënhof Garden

Whether browsers are looking for a picture of a hazelnut blossom, or architectural features inspired by the Acanthus —one of the subjects I wrote about with much pleasure— Google directs them to the blog of an estate garden in the countryside north of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile the Dijkemas have published their book about their garden and it's time for yours truly to focus on her own book length manuscript, a saga about art, nuts and love in a cold climate.

What does it take to focus on one's own material, or, when do you know enough is enough, it's time to work on just your own project?