The Milton Center is Coming to Image
We are delighted to announce that the Milton Center, a literary and educational program dedicated to excellence in creative writing by Christians, is moving from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas to join Image here at Seattle Pacific University. Founded with the goal of fostering a community of writers, readers, publishers, and editors of Christian commitment, the centerpiece of the Milton Center program has always been its postgraduate fellowship. Applications for the 2004-05 fellowship are now being accepted. This is such an important addition to Image 's suite of programs that we'll be devoting a special issue of ImageUpdate to it. Expect to receive that special issue next week.
In the meantime, visit our new web pages on the Milton Center, starting here.
Issue #39 is Published
Image issue #39 features the art of Eric Fischl, essays by Andrew Fuhrman and Peggy Payne, an interview with Carolyn Forche, a review of Ned O'Gorman's Five Seasons of Obsession, poetry by Catharine Savage Brosman, and more. Click here to check out the complete table of contents, read the editorial statement, and learn more about the contributors.
Image Conference: New Attractions (including Michelle Shocked!)
As the Image Conference draws ever closer, we're delighted to stir up anticipation by highlighting some recent (agreeable) additions to the schedule. As mentioned in the last Image Update, novelist Joy Williams has replaced Alice McDermott on the conference roster of plenary speakers. Author of The Quick and the Dead, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, as well as numerous other books, short stories, and non-fiction articles, Williams will bring her broad experience as a writer of fiction to the conference discussion of the function of story. In addition to Williams, two performers-singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked and Seattle's St. James Cathedral Soloists-will also attend the conference, providing musical angles on the theme of narrative. Shocked began her music career in 1986 at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas when a partner in an independent British record label posed as a journalist and asked her to sing a few of her songs into his Walkman. Within weeks the tape was being played on the BBC. Shocked, who had planned on becoming a political activist, released her debut album Short, Sharp, Shocked in 1988, followed by Captain Swing in '89, and Arkansas Traveler in 1992, a trilogy that stays close to her east Texas blues and bluegrass roots. Her latest album, Deep Natural (2002) remains true to her folk origins while it incorporates pop, gospel and soul. The St. James Cathedral Soloists are four of the Pacific Northwest 's most respected oratorio singers and the area's only active professional vocal quartet. Composed of Lisa Cardwell Ponten, soprano; Kathryn Weld, mezzo-soprano; Howard Fankhauser, tenor; and Norman Smith, bass, the quartet will perform pieces by Britten, Alfonso el Sabio, and Schutz. Shocked will perform Friday night following Williams' lecture. The St. James Cathedral Soloists, led by conductor James Savage, will perform prior to Dana Gioia's presentation Saturday night.
For more information on the Image Conference, please click here.
Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life
By John H. Timmerman
In 1995, the republic of letters lost one of its most prominent citizens when the poet Jane Kenyon died of leukemia. Her poetry endures: spare, lyrical, able not only to evoke the subtle epiphanies of winter landscapes ("Nothing but white - the air, the light; / only one brown milkweed pod / bobbing in the gully, smallest / brown boat on the immense tide") but also delve with compassion and unflinching intelligence into the dark inner landscapes of depression and illness ("I have a secret, a second life: / I'm a bigamist. Melancholy is / my first and lifelong companion"). John Timmerman, a professor of English at Calvin College , has written a book that deftly balances biographical narrative and literary interpretation. The quiet but rich life that Kenyon lived at Eagle Pond Farm, the ancestral home of her husband, the poet Donald Hall, comes alive in Timmerman's pages. He likens her to the New Hampshire mountains surrounding the farm: a woman of "calm dignity: a graceful and lovely demeanor backed by granitic resolve."
For more on Timmerman's book, visit the publisher's page.
To visit a site dedicated to Hall and Kenyon, click here.
The paintings of Joel Sheesley will be on view at Chicago 's Gescheidle Gallery from October 10 through November 1. For the past fifteen years, Sheesley has focused his work on his local suburban Chicago environment. His paintings, usually quite large and exactingly composed, ask the viewer to contemplate identity and purpose in the mass-produced, yet not altogether unlovely, suburban world of parks, swimming pools, backyards and domestic interiors. In (Be)tween , his first major exhibition at Gescheidle, Sheesley introduces a new level of visual complexity to his figurative oil paintings, pointedly examining the delicate partition between interior and exterior. Many of the paintings in the series use reflections from windows or the glass of framed canvasses to place view upon view. In the triptych "Householder Sonata," a man and a woman stand in adjacent rooms on separate canvasses, joined in the middle by a larger canvas depicting a grid of mini-blinds and the reflection of the outside world. One wonders whether the layering of images creates greater or less clarity. "Are these visual phenomena metaphorical clues that suggest the way things really are, or are they non sequiturs that should just be ignored?" asks Sheesley. It feels as if one has been granted a prolonged glimpse into the unanswerable abstract. Sheesley suggests that the mundane qualities of his interiors, including the ordinary gestures of the figures, present a Protestant vision of inner sanctity-the holiness of the everyday. Sheesley hopes that the paintings in (Be)tween celebrate the world outside of the individual and artist, standing as reflections of both imperfection and illumination.
For more on the exhibit, go to the Gescheidle Gallery website or see Joel Sheesley's portfolio. Check out as well his essay "Wreckage and Resue: The Art of Bradford Johnson," published in Image # 25.
16 Horsepower/ Woven Hand
In describing the music of David Eugene Edwards, lead singer of the bands16 Horsepower and Woven Hand, many have given way to hyperbole: "a desperate preacher lost in a desert night"; "the equivalent of reading Flannery O'Connor or William Faulkner"; "'Christian Rock' with a serious hellhound on its trail." Raised by his grandfather, a traveling Nazarene preacher, the descriptions of Edwards are not misplaced. Encountering either band, listeners are prone to feel as if they've grabbed a sack full of folk instruments (banjos, bandoneon, standup bass, accordion) and wandered years back to hear Jeremiah give voice to Old Testament concerns. Formed in the early 1990s in Los Angeles , the trio of Edwards and French expatriates Jean-Yves Tola and Pascal Humbert soon relocated to Denver , Colorado . They released Sackcloth 'n' Ashes in 1996, an album that garnered much critical acclaim. Building on a reputation as an incredible live act, the band soon released Low Estate (1997) and Secret South (2000). Citing "religious differences" within the group, the band went on hiatus soon after a tour of Europe . In 2002 rumors of a band split were dispelled when it released Folklore , an album steeped in traditionals and roots music. In 2003 Woven Hand released both its sparse eponymous debut and its follow-up effort, Blush Music . The latter is a soundtrack for the Belgian theater production of Blush , a retelling of the Greek Orpheus myth. Increasing this year's wealth of material, 16 Horsepower recently released Olden , a collection of early demos and live rarities. Though both bands retain a wider fan base outside North America , Edwards remains committed to living in Colorado . "My wife and children like it here. To me it's more important to make them happy. . Being creative comes second."
For more on 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand , click here.
Poetry Daily Features Image in October
Every single day of the year, the on-line anthology Poetry Daily posts one poem culled from a current literary mag or recently published book-a fantastic public service to those of us who want to read more poetry but don't know where to start. PD exists to help readers find poems they like, and to help book and journal publishers find their audiences. The crisply designed site also features interviews, selected essays, and resources for tracking down hard-to-find books and journals-but the focus is always on the daily poem.
In October, PD highlights Image , with a blurb on the journal, plus content from our latest issue scheduled to appear throughout the month:
Thursday, Oct. 9, Dan Bellm, "Milk and Honey"
Sunday, Oct. 19, Bruce Beasley, "Lord's Prayer"
Tuesday, Oct 21, Interview w. Andrew Hudgins
They've told us it's a little unusual for them to run material from the same issue three times in a month, but they're dead-set on promoting new finds to their readers, and hey, we can't complain.
Jerome Witken: Taken
"As a figurative artist who deals in contemporary history, how could I avoid painting 9/11?" This question reveals the roots of Jerome Witkin's Taken, a monumental work painted in response to the 9/11 attacks. By combining what he calls "the privilege of imagination" with the loss of innocence, identity, and life felt after September 11, Witkin creates a monumental yet intimate portrayal of how the terrorist attacks changed Americans--especially New Yorkers--forever. From a woman on the subway being sexually assaulted by a devil-like figure (as two planes, visible outside the subway window, careen toward the twin towers), to a frame-by-frame depiction of a man's realization of wallet theft, identity theft, and, finally, loss of life, Witkin's painting illustrates how the events of September 11 affected not only the lives of those in the World Trade Center, but also the emotional and spiritual stability of an entire nation. Though tragedy permeates this painting, it does not exclude hope, suggested in the background of the painting by two heroic firefighters rushing upward to extinguish the flames of hate. This exhibit will be on display from September 6 - November 16, 2003 at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York.
To read Joel C. Sheesley's profile on Jerome Witkin in Image #11, click here. For more on this exhibit, click here.
Images of God: Two Christian Artists from Asia
This month Northwestern College's Te Paske Gallery will display the work of two Asian artists who recast Christian images according to the artistic traditions and current experiences of their cultures. Images of God: Two Christian Artists from Asia features Indonesian Wisnu Sasongko and He Qi from China. Sasongko's paintings emphasize Christ as messenger of peace in the context of Asia and the turmoil of the wider world. Sasongko offers a vision of Christian spirituality as solace for the crises and continuing violence in Indonesia. His paintings, mainly in acrylic and mixed media, have a cubist element softened by mild colors and languid, distended figures whose placidity match his themes: "Hope for Peace," "Under the Shadow of Love 1." Qi, a professor at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and a doctor of religious art-one of the first mainland Chinese to earn the degree-aims to challenge the "foreign image" of westernized Christianity by reinterpreting tableaus from the Bible in the style of traditional Chinese art. Qi adapts both the minimal water-and-ink Zen form as well as more colorful Chinese folk and minority art to his subject, blending those techniques further with those of Western art. As a distinctly modern Chinese Christian artist in the context of a largely non-Christian society, Qi hopes to use Christianity to supplement Chinese art in the same way Buddhism did in ancient times. In his Bible series, Qi forges a rich balance of deep colors and sharp images to portray Christ as "a messenger of peace and rejoicing."
Northwest College is located in Orange City, Iowa. The exhibit will open Oct. 10 and will run through Nov. 26.
He Qi's art can be viewed here and Wisnu Sasongko's art may be seen here. For more on the exhibit, click here.