Heskin Contemporary is pleased to present the exhibition, Five Fathoms, a portfolio of woodcuts by four visual artists and one poet. The exhibition opens October 27th and runs through December 10th, 2011. A reception will be held for the artists from 6 -9 pm on Thursday, October 27th. There will also be a poetry reading by John Reid Currie at 8:00 pm.
The bold, elegant woodcuts in this limited edition artist's book provide a contemporary visual analog to Twain's metaphorical tale (excerpted within) as they explore the broad formal vocabulary of abstraction:
Five Fathoms was conceived by visual artist Jebah Baum: printmaker and founder of Protophorm Press. He envisioned a collaborative effort between four contemporary artists working in abstraction under a loose common theme. The medium of woodcuts was chosen for its directness, physicality and clarity of presentation and with the publishing of Mark Twain’s autobiography last year it seemed an auspicious moment to engage with one of his great works. The welcome addition of a contemporary poet to the group (our fifth fathom) enriched the conversation, a natural result of the historical tensions that arise between visual and verbal narratives once literature and art begin to interact.
The title Five Fathoms is a direct reference to Samuel Clemens’ choice of pen name, Mark Twain, which literally means two fathoms (twelve feet, safe water for the river boats of his youth) and comes from his period of tutelage as a cub pilot memorably recalled in his book Life on the Mississippi. That William Shakespeare had used the title Full Fathom Five for his famous poem (from The Tempest) addressing the correlation between life and art, offered an opportunity that was too good to overlook, hence his poem was incorporated into the title page.
Jebah Baum's quirky mazelike shapes reveal a dynamic engagement with positive and negative space, inviting us to consider the puzzling nature of memory and the mysteries of connection.
Robert G. Edelman's two-toned images are derived from expressionistic ink collages that call to mind the strangely beautiful patterns of flotsam on a flowing river or the shadows of clouds gliding over farmland.
Timothy Linn's intuitively choreographed prints have a graphic monumentality evocative of the cuts made by a river in the surface of the earth. His crisp, austere lines pierce and demarcate large resonant fields of black.
Boris Sternberg's tightly orchestrated constructivist compositions
communicate a tragic/comic literalism juxtaposing the threatening cogs of paddle wheels against the ribbed skeletons of fish.
John Reid Curries rhythmic poem reads like a bluesy jazz suite offering a verbal counterpoint to the visual images in the portfolio. There is a longing for transcendence in his gritty riffs on past and present pop icons, urbanity and impermanence.
The portfolio is co-published with Protophorm Press. It is Heskin Contemporary's first print exhibition.