Archive for the ‘.text’ Category

Chelsea Newnam

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009


Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942

A stillness sweeps the street into darkness

and we’re illuminated from the inside, out.

The bar smiles through red

striations to greet elbows with a light

kiss as my mug sputters to empty.

I order another coffee, black.

Night eyes wander through the window to black

pavement, mirrored by stagnant darkness.

The street whispers in empty

desire, as no one is out

tonight.  No one to hover in our light

like moths towards flames of deep red.

The woman in red

is poised against the crisp black

reflection of the window.  Light,

waiting to relieve or receive darkness-

blushing fingertips reaching out

to touch the parts of me that are empty.

A pair of empty

pupils are invitations for her red

fingernails to bend and siphon out

the tension layered thick in black


hoping to expose hidden light.

But our diner produces the only light,

before dawn returns an empty

suburbia.  Relenting darkness,

exchanges bursts of amber red

for the night’s concealing black


Before the sun stretches out

its waking arms of light

to soothe away the bleak black

fear of another empty

evening, I wait and watch habitual red:

faceless, and sheathed in darkness.

Alone, she walks out into the morning and leaves the empty

fragments of light to caress my skin , waiting for the returned assault of red

on the senses: to know the black wells of her eyes is the symmetry of my darkness.


Artist Bio

Interview with Carole Garmon

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Carole Garmon, Assistant Professor of Art, has taught at the University of Mary Washington since 1998 and received the Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award in 2002. She holds a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and has participated in national and international exhibitions. Garmon is a member of the College Art Association and the Arlington Arts Center and serves on the board of 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA. Garmon teaches 3D design and sculpture.

Could you discuss how your sculptures inspired by Rembrandt, in particular “The Anatomy of Mr. Tulp,” flirt with crossing genre lines?

As an artist an a teacher, I’m delving into these same ideas about what constitutes different genres of art, but also more importantly; where do all of our ideas come from? For creative writers, or fine artists or musicians or whoever.

But with that in mind, I do have such a sincere dedication for respect for my tradition. So even though my art is much more contemporary, I still reference back to what came before me.

At some point, probably as a grad student, I found myself always going to these huge museums with my classmates and looking at all the contemporary work, but instead, I would find myself drawn to the Dutch portraits and I couldn’t figure out why.

But then one day, it was as simple as just seeing a painting with some dogs hunting. I still don’t even remember who did the painting. But these dogs were hunting and they actually had coats on.

I started wondering what the artist was thinking about when he painted these dogs. I really got interested in the artist, almost as much as the art. Which took me to Rembrandt because he started doing a lot of self portraits, hundreds of them. The more research I did on him, the more I began to understand that the things the Dutch were going through at the time are what we’re going through now. They had dissolved their monarchy and were moving to going more democratic. All of a sudden, artists were no longer painting for a patron. In the past, if you wanted to be in the painting, you had to pay. Rembrandt started making art for the sake of art, and that’s what I wanted to do.  He’s the beginning of what I’m doing now. So I started painting.

After I first showed my paintings incorporating Rembrandt, I went back to my studio and said, “what the hell have you done.” You’ve painted, and he already did it so well, so what is it you’re trying to say about this work. So what, you painted.

Painting became kind of an ego thing, to see if I can do it. So that’s where I came up with the white line.

A white line delineates something past, like a dead body. I thought, rather than do paintings, I’ll pick one character from the paintings and create a dialogue with him.

The dialogue will come in whatever genre I need. I decided Tulp would be my person.

I did a lot of research and used Tulp as my mirror. He’s a digital transparency taken from the original painting. If you look at the images, sculpture cloth is set up to mirror Tulp’s hand. I wanted to add a mirror because I wanted the viewer to stay in the now and see themself in Tulp’s hand. So he’s mounted so you see your own reflection.

While I was making “Mr. Tulp,” I was taking a creative writing course with Claudia Emerson as part of a teaching innovation program; a partnership where she took my class and I took her class. We began to realize that day-to-day we were lecturing about the same things; that I was talking about materials, plasters and things, and she was talking about words. She would talk about the form of a poem, and I would talk about the object. We talk the same lingo.

I was writing a poem for her class, it was a letter to Rembrandt about his work and I had no idea what to title it. And Claudia is a stickler on titles. It’s so cheesy but I ended up opening up the dictionary to the term “mort main,” which means “dead hand” in French, or the handing over of authorship. I thought “oh my god, that’s what’s happening with me and Rembrandt.”

For Randolph Macon College’s “Artists and Writers” exhibit three years ago, you teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Claudia Emerson to create art about sewing birds. Could you elaborate on this collaboration?

They wanted an artist and a writer to work together. Both of us are the same when it comes to making art; I didn’t want to make an art piece about a poem she had written, and she didn’t want to write a poem about an art piece that I had made. We just don’t work like that. So we came up with something that we would both approach artistically.

The sewing bird that Claudia took was very Victorian and pristine looking; mine was much more sleek and streamline. We bought them at the same Antique store and started thinking about it.

I was inspired by the concept of a bird that can’t fly-it’s clamped on the table. Sewing birds were also a common gift that husbands would give their wives as a wedding present. So what I did is took the scale of a double bed to create the association of marriage.

What specific genres do you think you incorporate with sculpture the most?

As we speak, I’m really interested in video. Well, really video and text. I’m interested in words.

Right now I’m exploring how I can put a few words together and come up with different meanings. For instance, when you say “That’s what’s that,” depending on how your intonation and inflection, could have so many different meanings. Playing with three simple words.

Another idea just recently came to me; when I was a kid, my mother was babysitting a bird for the family next door. I can remember taking it out of its cage while my family wasn’t home. I don’t know if I squeezed it too tight or if it died of fright, but the bird died in my hands. I was horrified. Now that I’m older, I’m a pet-rescuer. I also just recently lost a car last year, and he died in my arms too.

It came to me the other day to explore the phrase: “holding something dying.” Just three words again. I’m interested how you can play with just a few words by adding slashes and emphasis.

I love Google. I was researching something else the other day and came upon the phrase “Coal Mining in Arkansas.” What a title! I ended up creating a piece based on those words.

I also was googling to find the proper term for “birds who can’t fly,” and the phrase “flightless birds” came up. I loved those words. I think I get a lot of ideas just from a phrase.

How do you specifically encourage your students to cross genre lines?

In a beginning sculpture class, I think it’s important to just focus on technique. However, when you get to my upper-level classes, I encourage my students to not limit themselves to genre.

I gave my students an assignment the other day where I gave them matchboxes and asked them to solve the problem of how do you travel from the grandiose to the minute and reveal an interesting using a matchbox. I’m trying to get them to use their brain and conceptualize.

When you get to Sculpture II, you’re on your own. We throw grades out the window. They’re doing all kinds of art; they’re embroidering,  weaving, using found objects, making video, etc.

How boring would it be if I had 12 amazing students and I made them all do carved salt-blocks.

You can get technique all your life. Now is the time to learn how to tap into your thought process

I’m a firm believer that students need to learn how to set up problems for themselves. In fine art, we also have graphic design and advertising. In my mind, they’re wonderful mediums but a career in that means a client comes to you with a problem to solve. In fine art, you make the problem.

Sculpture is a cross-genre; I don’t care what you use, as long as you’re creative. If you English majors are in language, we’re in visual language. It’s all about the making. It’s never personal, it’s all about the making.

We’re also getting online now. My students are blogging and posting their pieces, and we’re running away with it. It’s another addition to the studio.

Madison Brennaman

Friday, April 17th, 2009

A Poem Compiled from Learning ICQ Chatbot Logs After Being Spammed with Bits of Romance Poetry and Nonsense

Whilst she falls madly through these silly questions,
do you ride a blowpipe is spouting off nonsense,
but we can’t let our crowds be fed on the floor.

The nerves are important questions.

Soon it hits my brain,
and that’s the hills wondering why you don’t normally see left-handed shovels hooked up to ball?

Why the people sing?

The lost ones who fell away free sex the giraffe.
Draw the line dividing laugh and aubergines garnished with a large trout.

The sphinx is my mom
never met a black sheep,
and under the sea a carnivore is lacking.

Artist BIo

Ellen Ferrante

Friday, April 17th, 2009


An Ode to “La Vie en Rose”

Hold me close and hold me fast

hazy as thick summer air

the magic spell you cast

that’s sweet and unaware,

this is la vie en rose

…yet only for a moment.

When you kiss me heaven sighs-

daylight setting into night,

and though I close my eyes,

the moon small, yet so bright

I see la vie en rose,

a spotlight in the shadows.

When you press me to your heart,

your arms hold around my waist,

I’m in a world apart

where problems are erased,

a world where roses bloom,

I’ve forgotten all your wrongs.

(And when you speak, angels sing from above

a warning or blessing, I cannot tell.

Every day words seem to turn into love songs

my stomach is twisting and I don’t feel well.)

And I’m haunted by your phrase:

give your heart and soul to me,

think of me all your days

and life will always be

wilting into brittle gloom-

la vie en rose.


“This piece offers a reflection to the lyrics of the song ‘La Vie en Rose’ (literally ‘Life in Pink’), as popularized by Édith Piaf.  The italicized lines are the original song lyrics. The non-italicized lines, written just for this poem, mimic the form of the original lyrics, so the words fit to the tune of ‘La Vie en Rose.’ However, read them separately, and they form a different poem.”

Artist Bio

Timothy Schulz

Friday, April 17th, 2009


Monolith and Remnant

Gilded girders kris a cross,

razing from nature,

a telecom tower

of rooting power.

It stands a man-made capital,

a violent vacation of nature,

firmly faceted to outlast thyme.

But nature is also steadfast.

51 carrion crows caw,

settled at the spire.

The murder awaits.




Physically formed, thick thought  surrounds her.

Consciousness caught, time ticks  mulling by.

Steeping , submerged     in the viscous emulsion of dream.

Lullingly immersed into tranquil contentment with self,

She seemingly sleeps in her stare of emergence.


Artist’s Bio

Gregory Stenta

Thursday, April 16th, 2009


A Dialogue on Egon Schiele’s Painting, Embrace (Lovers II)

In the art book, Schiele looks like he’s eating his wife’s

ear!  Man and wife have their eyes closed; their eyes

shut, perhaps, as they have nowhere else they want

to look.  The editors of the book say of the painting:

“No one is watching or aware of being watched.”

Looking down at them, it’s hard to forget making love

with your eyes open.  In the painting, Schiele is a shade

darker, as though he works in the sun.  His wife is paler,

softer, like dark vanilla ice cream-is Schiele learning

to enjoy his wife beyond “carnally possessing her,”

as the editors in this mélange of “famous” art argue,

or does he recognize as I do that making love is easier

with eyes closed?  Their eyes are closed then,

as they do not want to remember.

Here is love-making on canvas,

an infinite embrace for our eyes.

Schiele had long thoughts; love always ends

with one lover knocking on the door to an empty room.


Stenta on “A Dialogue…”:

“This particular poem was an exploration of my emotions about two and a half years ago.  The poem does several things in response to Egon Schiele’s ‘Embrace (Lovers II)’: it imagines possible thoughts in Schiele’s mind, and responds to the editors of an art book.  My poem also stands alone as a piece of poetry, as it can be read without the painting.  However, I believe looking at the painting may illuminate the poem, and lend new life to the painting as well.  In short, my poem breathes new life into Schiele’s painting, and the painting has inspired a new piece of art (a poem) in another format.”

Artist Bio:

Katie Toussaint

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009



Draping the bow across the strings, your fingertips shiver

With vibrato and your melody pours

Onto the stage.

It washes over the whorled surface to spin

And break against the walls, spilling

Into the audience.  You stand in the pool

Of stage light as glints of amber catch in your strings.

You almost smile.

But your memory or your fingertip slips

And you open your eyes- sound foams

And fizzles out on the practice room floor.

You close your eyes once more

And something you will never touch

Flies away.


Artist’s Bio