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Issue #30 | July 15, 2003


Issue #38 is Published
The Complex Epiphanies of Robert Rottet
Waiting for the Paraclete
Wings of Desire on DVD
A Pilgrim's Digress
The Innocence Mission: "Befriended"
Continuing Art Exhibits: Tobi Kahn, Chris Anderson, Russian Icons

Message Board
Chinese Art/Literature
Ad Lib Retreat

Spotlight on the 2003 Glen Workshop--A few spaces are still available!
Image is for sale!
Subscribe to Image online
Share ImageUpdate with a friend



Director Wim Wenders

ImageIssue #38 is Published
Issue #38 of Image contains a major symposium: "Bringing Home the Work: The Artist and the Community," featuring contributions by 31 writers, visual artists, composers, screenwriters and others, including Dan Wakefield, Leslie Fields, Charlie Peacock, and Lauren F. Winner; also to be found in this issue are the sculpture of Ginger Henry Geyer, the installations of Albert Pedulla and Makoto Fujimura, an interview with poet Andrew Hudgins, and poetry by Dan Bellm, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Moss, and Jan Twardowski. Plus fiction, book reviews, and more. To check out the table of contents and editorial statement, click here.

The Complex Epiphanies of Robert Rottet
Robert Rottet was born in 1966, and lived most of his life in various places throughout the Midwest. Rottet's musical and artistic interests began at an early age and continued throughout his life to be a central and consuming passion. Extremely gifted with the guitar, Rottet was involved both with bands and the creation of solo material while still in junior high. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he worked with inner city youth in Camden, New Jersey. During these years, Rottet began to collect guitars and basic recording equipment. Using 4-tracks and DAT machines, Rottet recorded more than 30 albums of original material, using his own voice for backing vocals in addition to playing all the instruments. He attended college in Chicago and Indiana, and in 1996 completed a degree in English Literature. That same year he joined the U.S. Army, and was a chaplain in the 82nd Airborne at the time of his death: November 4, 1999 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In the wake of his untimely passing, Rottet left a massive--and sadly under-appreciated--collection of music, poetry, art, and assorted writings. Both his music and lyrics are dense, and unlike the surface-skimming pop music of our day, continue to dig deeper with each listen; with time his words, as Joyce said of epiphanies, leap from the vestment of their appearances. Rottet drew musical inspiration from nearly every genre available, and from artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix and They Might Be Giants; his lyrics found resources in the Bible, mythology, children's fairytales, works like Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Dante's Inferno, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and anything and everything he ever read. Research Records, his own label founded in 1992, continues the process of transferring his albums to CD format. Two releases are planned for 2003: Country, Blues, Folk (an album of traditionals) and The Chicago E.P. (five songs). Costs for each release are covered by a grassroots network of friends and supporters, and the albums are distributed for free via Rottet's official website. At this time, a multi-artist requiem for Rottet--Below What Once Were Wings--is in progress.

For further information visit Robert Rottet's official website.

ImageWaiting for the Paraclete
Lise Goett
"It is hard to begin with a death, / albeit metaphorical, / of what you thought would be your future." So begins Waiting for the Paraclete, a startling collection of poems by former Milton Center Fellow and friend of Image, Lise Goett. In this gathering Goett displays her ability to describe a world that both cowers from and glories in profound sadness. From the very beginning, Goett's poetry initiates an intimate connection between the poem and its audience. In "Antediluvian," the poem progresses from a trip to the butcher, "white packages, appendages sawed off," to a Catholic shrine where beggars "ask for life in the vernacular," and, finally, to lovers whose "teeth chip away at what can no longer be said." These seemingly unconnected objects and events are drawn together by their strangeness, by their beauty. Goett does not didactically recite life lessons, but instead allows the reader to understand the familiar by experiencing the surreal. A paned window, a fallen bee-hive, a pair of white gloves: all of these things are gently pulled apart to reveal an interwoven strand that beautifully unites the melancholy and the spiritual. The intrigue of Goett's poetry lies in its mystery, its ability to define the dreamy sadness that, at times, permeates life. As Carol Frost comments in the introduction to Waiting for the Paraclete: "Lise Goett's strengths lie in the truth telling that knows it contains lies, and in flirtations with beauty; hers is poetry one does not easily get over."

For a review of this book published in Ploughshares, click here.

ImageDVD Release of 1987 Wings of Desire
Directed by Wim Wenders
Wings of Desire, the cinematic masterpiece of the great German director Wim Wenders, is now available in DVD format. This 1987 film depicts the life of angels who watch over the divided city of Berlin, Germany. The primary concern of these darkly clothed, gentle beings is to watch over humanity and provide silent comfort to those whose inner thoughts reveal them to be in need. While these heavenly creatures have the ability to provide unseen solace to a suffering world, they are incapable of experiencing the world as humans do. To taste a cup of coffee, to feel a cold wind, "to lie through the teeth"--these things that are beyond possibility for these transcendental beings. When one angel, the gentle Damiel, falls in love with beautiful trapeze artist Marion, he chooses to surrender his contemplative, observational position for a chance to experience the life--and love--that beckons to him. Wings of Desire is a thought-provoking work that exudes a religious sensitivity both familiar and profound. Filmed with cinematography that contrasts the stark urban industrial landscape of 1980s Berlin with close studies of human faces, Wim Wenders's dark masterpiece beautifully blends fragile loneliness with tangible hope.

Originally released in 1987, Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire has been the recipient of numerous awards including the 1987 FELIX Film Festival award for Best German Film and the 1988 Cannes Film Festival award for Best Director. In 1993 Wenders released a sequel entitled Faraway, So Close, a film that once again uses an angelic motif to explore the mysteries of flesh and spirit.

For more information on Wim Wenders go to his official website.

ImageA Pilgrim's Digress
John D. Spalding
John D. Spalding's approach to writing has been compared to David Sedaris, P.J. O'Rourke, even Woody Allen. In his newest book, A Pilgrim's Digress, Spalding maximizes that philosophical/comedic tradition by satirically comparing his own spiritual search to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. From a day spa in Kansas to New York City's Times Square to the Christian Wrestling Federation, Spalding shares the trials and tribulations of his own "perilous, fumbling quest for the celestial city." Make no mistake: this book contains more than just spiritual spoofing and farcical situations. Like the religious writing of Annie Lamott, Spalding's pilgrimage for the truth in American Christianity is irreverent but deeply honest. Describing his state of mind on journey to the Catholic shrine in Santiago, he confesses: "That night, I asked myself, 'What am I doing here?' When I had signed in earlier, the monk at the desk asked me to check my motivation for undertaking the pilgrimage. The options provided were religious, spiritual, cultural, recreational, and other. I marked 'other,' beside which I wrote 'all of the above.' But as I lay in bed I began to wonder whether my reasons for doing this pilgrimage were even close to good enough." Spalding describes his figurative and literal travels through Christendom with an informative, colloquial voice that is capable of posing questions devoid of condescension. He does not claim to know the answers, but instead admits to a need for the journey, a desire for the destination. The result is a humorously poignant story of spiritual journey that is more authentic that we are apt to first admit.

For more on this author click here.

The Innocence Mission
The members of The Innocence Mission first met during a 1987 production of Godspell at their Lancaster, Pennsylvania Catholic high school. Nine releases and sixteen years later, singer-songwriter Karen Peris and guitarist Don Peris are married and still producing beautiful music along with bassist and close friend, Mike Bitts. This August will mark the release of the band's sixth full length album, "Befriended," a gorgeously mellow collection that summons its listeners with lovely, rich sounds. With this new album TIM continues a tradition of producing music that moves its audience through simple, fervent lyrics and shimmering, melodic composition. On the opening track, "Tomorrow on the Runway," Karen sings, "Oh be the music in my head, the air around my bed, oh be my rest, replace the small disgraces of the times and places that I never really left." The combination of Don's warm, tremulous guitar, Mike's subtle upright base and Karen's haunting voice create a nostalgia for the past that is mysterious and wonderful. The effect is a bright, illuminating quality that seems specifically composed for those who are searching--those who long for the beauty, the sacramentality, the hope that glimmers within every moment. The intention behind the music of TIM is directly related to their name. Karen recalls "The idea is that music can be a shelter, and music is something that is made with pure joy, with purity of intention, purity of heart." With the release of "Befriended," The Innocence Mission succeeds in further carving out a place for joyful, contemplative music. For more information, visit their official website.

Continuing Art Exhibits
Chris Anderson, On and Off the Wall

A photograph of New York artist Chris Anderson's ongoing installation project, Family Stories: Historical Dislocations in the Domestic Landscape, can be seen in the upcoming Image #38. Those fortunate enough to be in New York City between June 25 and August 1 have the opportunity to see this provocative collection up close as the New York Foundation for the Arts' Painting Fellows presents "On and Off the Wall," an exhibition that features new and recent work by the twenty-four recipients of the prestigious NYFA 2002 Painting Fellowship. Anderson, one of the artists chosen for this award by a panel of peer artists, explains her approach on Family Stories: "I integrate multiple visual styles, diverse materials, deconstructed domestic patterns and images of the body and popular culture in my investigation of the pluralistic, multifaceted and complex condition of life in the contemporary American home." The result is a startling compilation that encourages the viewer to reexamine what it means to be home.

For more information regarding this exhibit, including a list of other featured artists click here.

ImageTobi Kahn, Sky & Water and Works from the Cape

Tobi Kahn's Sky & Water exhibition will be on display May 4 - August 24, 2003 at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College in New York. An acclaimed painter and sculptor, Tobi Kahn was featured as Image artist of the month last October. His work is on display in museums around the country, including the Guggenheim museum in New York City. Sky & Water is a meditative collection that includes some 85 paintings. They will, no doubt, create a serene space for visitors to this exhibition--a place to encounter, paradoxically, inevitable moments of disturbance and turmoil within the serenity. Read a review on this exhibit by Donald Kuspit here. For driving directions and hours, visit the museum website here.

In addition to Sky & Water, Tobi Kahn's collection Works from the Cape will be on display from July 19 - September 7, 2003 at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts. This particular exhibit will feature works that have been influenced by Kahn's relationship with longtime friend, Mark Tykocinski, a doctor of pathology. "Where I see cells," Tykocinski writes, "Tobi sees forms. As he effortlessly traverses landscapes and 'bioscapes,' the two soon merge--and what results is a unity of form." The exhibit will include a joint talk by the two men entitled, Art and Science: A New way of Seeing. Regarding this collaborative artistic approach, Kahn says "In the face of the world's instability I want to reveal those elements that are transcendent, not the evident reality but its essence." For more information on this exhibit, visit the museum website at For more on Tobi Kahn, click here.

Holy Russia: Icons from the Collection of Francesco Bigazzi

This exhibition will display late 19th and early 20th century Russian icons from a collection based in Italy. Holy Russia represents the shifting styles of Russian iconography during the turn of the century, existing as a blend of ancient spiritual tradition and new style in iconography. View the collection at the American Bible Society Gallery in New York City from May 16 - September 6, 2003. For more information, see the gallery website.

If you have information other ImageUpdate readers might find interesting, share it here! Do you have a question that you hope a member of the ImageUpdate community might have the answer to? Ask it here. Have your messages posted by sending an email to [email protected].

Chinese Art
John Lindblom is interested in learning about any contemporary Christian writers, musicians, and artists currently making art in the Chinese language (whether they live in mainland China or not). If you have any information that you can share with him you may write to John directly at [email protected].

Ad Lib Retreat
Ad Lib, a retreat and forum for Christians practicing in literary, visual, and performing arts, will meet Sept. 11-14 at Highlands Presbyterian Conference Center in Allens Park, CO. The focus is on Sabbath, fellowship, and issues facing artists as disciples. Headlining this year's program are poet Scott Cairns, visual artist Kathy Hettinga, and Jennifer Jantz, of Eighth Day Books. For further information, contact Anne Emmons, program director, at 303-238-8690, [email protected], or director Judith Dupree at 619-473-8683, [email protected].

ImageSpotlight on the Glen Workshop
In this section of ImageUpdate, we will occasionally present short features on individual workshops and other aspects of the Glen that might catch your interest.

A Few Spaces Are Still Available--Register Now!
Though the Glen Workshop is less than a month away, and many of the workshops have filled, there are still a few places left in the following classes: Seminar, Icon Writing and Playwriting. And don't forget that the Retreat option (no workshop) is always available. Call us at 206-281-2988 to register now. Come join us for an unforgettable week in Santa Fe!

To learn more about the Glen Workshop, go to the Glen website.

Image Is for Sale!
Now that we have your attention, we have to confess that Image is not for sale in the way you're thinking. Rather, the whole website is now wired for credit card purchases. Now you can stock up on back issues of Image, purchase books, conference audio- and videotapes, posters, prints--even register for our fall conference--through our new secure shopping cart software. Either go to pages on our website such as tables of contents for back issues or click on "Store" and then "Browse Shop" to browse through the nearly 150 items you can now make your own. Keep in mind one thing, though: online subscriptions are still being handled through a separate system. That's because when you subscribe through our site, your information goes directly and seamlessly onto our mailing list--a convenience for you and for us. So get out that little plastic card and put it to good use. The economy may be sluggish, but great art and literature are always a good investment. Right?


Click here to browse the Image store.

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Publisher: Gregory Wolfe
Editor: Joy Radford
Contributors: Matt Malyon, Joy Radford, Gregory Wolfe

ImageUpdate is the biweekly e-mail newsletter from Image, a quarterly print journal that explores the relationship between Judeo-Christian faith and art through contemporary fiction, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, music, and dance. Each issue also features interviews, memoirs, essays, and reviews.

ImageUpdate brings you news about books, CDs, organizations, websites, conferences, exhibitions, and tours -- all of which inhabit the intersection between faith and imagination. ImageUpdate will also notify you whenever a new issue of Image is printed, an Image event is upcoming, or new content is posted to our website.

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Copyright © 2003 Center for Religious Humanism. All rights reserved.