Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Biographical Note

 

vargas

Margarita Losada Vargas

Margarita Losada Vargas (Neiva, Huila – Colombia, 1983). Margarita is the author of the book Mejor Arder (2013), and co-author of La Persistencia de lo Inútil (2016). Her poems have been included in the bilingual (Spanish-French) anthology of Colombian poetry Vientre de luz / Ventre de lumiere 14 Colombian poets + Raul Gomez Jattin (Thieves of the Time, 2017) and the Italian poetry anthology Il corpo Il eros (Ladolfi editore, 2018). She currently writes poems, works in psychology, teaches at the university, and sings in a punk rock band.

Featured Writer Margarita Losada Vargas: Five Poems
Featured Translator Juan Garrido Salgado: Biographical Note

‘The Wild Great Wall’ (野 长 城): Translator’s Note

!The Wild Great Wall dusk jacketI first came to know Zhu Zhu’s voice on a New England winter day over a trans-Pacific phone call that lasted a whole night. I wanted to translate his poems and needed permission. As the tone of his voice shifted from distanced skepticism to understated enthusiasm, we felt the trust and it dawned on us that this trust could be extended to a book. That’s how everything started, and our friendship began.

I kept thinking of his soft and resolute voice as I gathered his books and plunged deeper into winter and into his world.

 

Long, long winter,
a wolf looks for the forest of words.

These two lines seem to encapsulate Zhu Zhu the poet: a lone wolf utterly on the periphery with his treasured independence, as well as his unrelenting respect and unstoppable reach for words and their histories. As I selected poems from his robust twenty-five years of poetic output into one slim volume, I was looking at his “forest of words” that slowly both grew on me and accrued meaning with each reading.

As the long winter slowly melted into spring blossoms, as the trajectory of Zhu Zhu’s poetic arc became clearer before my eyes, I was about to match the face to his familiar voice. I met him for the first time when he came to the United States for a joint-resi- dency at the Vermont Studio Center. With an almost reticent demeanor, he quietly blended in. I remember at meals he always wanted to take a seat by the window, where the Gihon River could be heard. I often traced a trail of cigarette butts to find him sitting on the porch or by the Gihon, wreathed in smoke. I never saw him scribble down his impressions of the country or the residency, but toward the end of our time together, a stack of loose pages was slipped under my door. It smelled of burning.

After China’s political upheaval in recent eras and the continuous capitalist frenzy, the “warm, languid routine” of a foreign writing residency did not seem to suit Zhu Zhu, as I often found him spinning and smashing at the Ping-Pong table or in one of the two bars in the village drinking away with the locals, communicating through his gestures and smiles. Over time his outlook has become more international, but he returns again and again to classical tales and historical figures, “brim[ming] with unfinished crying,” and investigates their relevance to our times. His narrated and narrative histories are not “dressed as literary allusion / blending allure with parable,” but are meant to be “a scalpel-like nib, to open / old China’s chest.” Even his more politically charged poems are not meant to take sides but to reflect a layered and nuanced aesthetic reading of history and politics. The poems remain open and resist easily reductive interpretations.

not become a ghost, not traffic in suffering, but clarify life’s wellspring—

Not to serve as a loudspeaker for a certain ideology, not to exorcise for sensational effects, Zhu Zhu excavates “the forbidden grounds of memory” by clarifying the ambivalence that a simple political reading might elide. He demands that poetry return to its ancient roots, where words first emerge and find their calling in fragments and lifelines.

Here is a fearlessly independent poet who maintains his cool and observes the world with his whole eyes as the political horizon blurs and shifts. What matters to him is how words silently explode and become explosives, and how language sinks and rises. Here is a poet who advocates poetry as “a pass for the despicable and the noble,” an open field where everyone    is welcome to speak up and sing. Here is a poet who reinvents himself from an early ethereal verse limned by the unspeakable, to a visual and visceral composition of images that impart the transient and untranslatable, to restrained and rich narrative investigations of historical figures and phenomena. Here is a poet who looks again to “the mundane and song,” where the lyric finds its first note. This can seem like an indulgence in our profit-reigning attention-splintering age. Yet it is indeed in this indulgence that “sharp spasms of morality” and “endless folds of history” become music, memorable, and memory. It is indeed in this indulgence of poets roaming in word and world, of slow lines shuttling through the problems and prospects of the political, the historical, and the quotidian that poetry resists being reduced to footnotes and instead commands to be read and reread for what it illuminates.

…sitting quiet between words,
a man whose life began at a full moon, always questing for that first moving glance.

It is winter again as I write this note. Our spring retreat in the Vermont country was years ago. As I go through the last proof of The Wild Great Wall in one long breath, these final smoked lines come alive again in Zhu Zhu’s attentive voice. I lament the irretrievable loss of these Chinese words, whose constellation first moved me and sent me on a mission to look for the English words that could approximate the sensory traces and emotional pulls of the original. I feel consoled that the reader can now experience Zhu Zhu in the English language for the first time. As I shift between Zhu Zhu’s Chinese and my English, our shared words, like trees in a forest, seem to grow with each season. Here is a lyric that continues to extend.

-Dong Li (李栋)


Dong Li photo credit Humboldt Foundation - Michael Jordan, January 2016Dong Li () was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English- language poet and translates from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.

 

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note
Featured Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

The Wild Great Wall (野长城) by Zhu Zhu with translations by Dong Li is available from Phoneme Media

 

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems

Days with a Swedish Friend

Light does not return on the glass,
but arrives.
Spring does not linger on ice and snow,
waiting for the animals to come out.
Rivers then soften.
In the southern sky,
even if shadows have a certain thickness,
with a light touch,
they break.

On the pond,
the testicles of hyacinth beans
rock softly,
rock softly.
Under the glazed roof
dark creases unfold.
One by one, people
cross streets
not yet knowing why they cross.

In “ice-land,”
where such a word means
the loneliness of Scandinavia
(there, every house
is a faraway lover),
it is already midsummer.
The crowd of this day
is the crowd of this century.

Light intensifies.
Like water splashed from the pond, willows devour us
and the fisheye lens
in your hand.
Embers, when dark enough, can be used as mirrors.
Butterflies are so light that they can take something on instead;
butterflies begin to flutter their wings—
and no longer ask you to hold
their parched eggs.

I put my hand
on your statue-like body, now melting.
You are not an exile
but have chosen another way of life,
and you say: “There are many kinds of exile…”

 

和一位瑞典朋友在一起的日子

光不在玻璃上返回,
而是到来。
春天不是在冰雪上犹豫地停留,
等待动物爬出来,
河流随之柔软。
在南方的天空下,
阴影即使有厚度,
也是轻巧的一触,
就碎去。

水池上,
扁豆的睾丸
轻摇着,
轻摇着,
琉璃瓦的屋顶下
那些阴森的褶皱展开了。
人们一个接着一个,
穿过了街道
但又不知为什么穿过。

在“冰岛”
这样的词意味着的
北欧的孤寂里
(那里,每一座房屋
都是一个遥远的情人),
这里已经是盛夏,
这一天的人群
就是一个世纪里的人群。

光还在增强。
杨柳像溅起来的池水吞没我们
和你手中的
鱼眼镜头。
黑极了的煤可以做镜子了。
蝴蝶轻盈得可以反过来承担什么了;
蝴蝶开始展翅——
不再要求你盛放
干涩的卵。

我将手放在你
那正在熔化的雕像式的躯体上,
你不是流亡者
而是选择了另一种生活,
但是你说: “流亡有很多种……”

 

The Wild Great Wall

I

Label of the Earth’s surface
or a trace strangled deep in memory
vanishes at the invasion of sandstorms and droughts
into mountains whose skin tone is ever closer to ours.

We were once here. Even
a young solider conscripted from a small town
would stand tall and with the heart of a rich man
judge aliens through piles of arrows, the herd of people,
no better than beasts crawling through a wasteland.

Here, we have already built a giant bathtub
to soak ourselves in warm, languid routine.
While women play on a swing in the garden,
men’s eyes seek out reflections in the water;

bloody, barely-cooked meat too uncouth,
the eaves of our civilization
are now demanding to the last stretch of their upward tips.


II

Now, go through
the most thorough of all destructions:
forgetting—it is like

a reptile spine
moving toward its final decay.
Mountain ridges beam in Jurassic quietude,
as the sun sets, the engine dies slowly down.
The remnant light falls like rusty arrows.

I come to trace the life that disappeared long before our birth,
as if the philological fingers knock
the ridge of an empty shell,
whose inside has been picked clean, in anguish.


III

In the peach trees on the steep slope,
bees hum and buzz around.
They have set up a campsite
in a nearby beacon tower
that has been smashed like earthenware.

Their song seems to say:
everything returns to nature…

Wild grass, like fingers deep in the earth,
like a fiery troop of ghosts with halberds and lances held high,
climbs onto collapsed steps.
This moment, countless startled landscapes must be fluttering
and fleeing off the walls in museums everywhere.

 

野长城

地球表面的标签
或记忆深处的一道勒痕,消褪在
受风沙和干旱的侵蚀
而与我们的肤色更加相似的群山。

我们曾经在这边。即使
是一位征召自小村镇的年轻士兵,
也会以直立的姿势与富有者的心情
透过箭垛打量着外族人,
那群不过是爬行在荒原上的野兽。

在这边,我们已经营造出一只巨大的浴缸,
我们的日常是一种温暖而慵倦的浸泡。
当女人们在花园里荡秋千,
男人们的目光嗜好于从水中找到倒影;

带血的、未煮熟的肉太粗俗了,
我们文明的屋檐
已经精确到最后那一小截的弯翘。


现在,经历着
所有的摧毁中最彻底的一种:
遗忘——它就像

一头爬行动物的脊椎
正进入风化的尾声,
山脊充满了侏罗纪的沉寂,
随着落日的遥远马达渐渐地平息,
余晖像锈蚀的箭镞坠落。

我来追溯一种在我们出生前就消失的生活,
如同考据学的手指苦恼地敲击
一只空壳的边沿,
它的内部已经掏干了。


在陡坡的那几棵桃树上,
蜜蜂们哼着歌来回忙碌着,
它们选择附近的几座
就像摔破的陶罐般的烽火台
做为宿营地。

那歌词的大意仿佛是:
一切都还给自然……

野草如同大地深处的手指,
如同蓬勃的、高举矛戟的幽灵部队
登上了坍塌的台阶,
这样的时辰,无数受惊的风景
一定正从各地博物馆的墙壁上仓惶地逃散。

 

The Loudspeaker

Scorching summer not yet over, old locust leaves
curled in sunlight; in mother’s arms
I closed my eyes, faking sleep,
in my palms my beloved marbles rolled quietly—

I hated afternoon naps, this fatuous family ritual.
Out the door, cicadas sang on low branches,
tadpoles hatched in water, from the edge of the fields
whistles blasted as big ships passed through the canal.

Suddenly, saved! A sizzling electric current
snaked through the stillness that bided in the village bushes, adults
blinked open their sleepy eyes, dragged unseen shackles underfoot,
walked out of rooms, and gathered by the utility pole.

With a dazzling glare, a big loudspeaker hung high
like a warden’s bright helmet on the watchtower in a film
that surveyed the whole prison, as the clear blue sky offset
a delayed execution and a baritone announced the leader’s death.

This news, like a mason’s trowel,
instantly scraped off every facial expression.
Then, to the tune of a dirge, they circled like an earthen wall,
their heads sagged like bent-over sunflower stems.

I was wild with joy that mother’s hands clutched mine no more,
marbles could jump in joy along dirt roads,
around ponds, straw piles, and threshing floors of wheat,
and roll to the small forest outside the village—

here, in a nook swept by the intersecting blare of the loudspeaker,
so quiet that fluttering wings and the cracking joints of spurting shrubs
were audible, the moos of cattle could also be heard
rending the funeral-parlor hush of fields, and through

lattice-like twigs in the forest, I watched
spreading wild grass devour the lanes of past generations,
bends of the river wind toward the horizon,
like empty staves, waiting to be refilled.

I did not know that from then on, my steps
were tacitly turned toward the self-banishment of adult years,
toward this endless fated exile—to keep from being summoned
back under the loudspeaker, like a hostage, like a ghost.

 

喇叭

酷暑还未销尽,老槐树的叶子
卷刃在日光下;在母亲的臂弯里
我闭上眼睛,假装在沉睡,
手掌里悄悄转动着心爱的玻璃球——

我厌恶午睡这昏庸的家庭制度,
外边,知了在低俯的树枝上唱着歌,
蝌蚪在水中孵化,从田野的尽头
传来大轮船驶过运河时鸣响的汽笛。

突然,得救了!一阵嘶嘶的电流
蛇行于村庄那没入草丛的沉寂,大人们
惺忪着睡眼,脚底拖动着无形的镣铐,
从屋中走出,聚到了那根电线杆下,

强光刺目,大喇叭高高地悬挂
就像电影里岗楼哨卫发亮的头盔
在俯瞰整座监狱,天空的湛蓝反衬着
一个停摆的刑期,男低音宣告领袖之死。

这消息像泥瓦匠的刮刀
瞬间抹平了所有人脸上的表情,然后,
伴随着哀乐声他们围成一面土墙,
低垂的头颈就像向日葵折断的茎杆。

而我狂喜于母亲的手不再将我攥紧,
玻璃球可以沿着泥泞欢快地蹦跳,
绕过水塘、稻草堆和打麦场,
一直滚动到村外的小树林——

这里,喇叭声之间交叉扫射的死角,
静得能听见鸟翅的扑动,低矮的灌木丛
骨节在发育的劈啪声,能听见旷野里
牛的哞鸣撕破灵堂般的死寂;透过

林边那窗栅般的枝条,我眺望
绵延的野草吞没了祖辈们的小路,
那弯垂中蜿蜒向天际的河流
如同空白的五线谱,等待着新的填写。

我并不知道从那时候开始,自己的脚步
已经悄悄迈向了成年之后的自我放逐,
迈向那注定要一生持续的流亡——为了
避免像人质,像幽灵,被重新召唤回喇叭下。

 

Florence

A day of rush. Itineraries delayed
by getting lost. We study the map and forget
we are already in those pensively charming
alleys and structures, roaming obliviously
through its newly recovered anonymity.

Perhaps this is what Florence longs for,
otherwise it would not close its churches so often,
leaving tourists on the steps and in the square;
with magnificent marble it walls off a somber quietude
in the interior of a closed church, secreting emptiness.

Every place corresponds to the image of a person.
Florence reminds me of an old lady, standing
behind thick violet curtains looking outward,
mouth tilted in irony, in whose living room
hangs a small privately-owned Botticelli.

I worry about her restraint. Whenever people
praise our ancient art yet insist that
the Chinese today should only write political poetry—
in their imagination, aside from the bloodshed,
we do not deserve to seek beauty like artists before us,

nor do we have the right to indulge in the mundane and song;
in sharp spasms of morality, in the endless folds
of history, a life’s touch becomes
estranged from itself and is reduced
to footnotes about hardships and inhumane colonies.

Thus I would prefer that Florence be brightly open,
flat and even, like a plate at an outdoor café.
That waitress who comes to serve our desserts,
slowing her steps as she notices us staring at her skirt,
looks like a fluffy-haired, overripe Beatrice—

afternoon sunlight unloads the weight of every tree,
the leaves’ capillaries expand in the wind, and their shadows
pass over our foreheads and become another pause.
Guards talk to themselves in the arched hallways; peering
from every museum window, it is beautiful out and out.

 

佛罗伦萨

匆忙的一天。被迷路耽误了
行程。研究着地图而忘记
我们已经置身那些阴郁迷人的
街道和建筑,可以无知地漫游在
它突然被恢复的匿名状态。

或许这也是佛罗伦萨自身所渴望的,
否则它不会频繁地设定闭馆日
而将游客留在台阶上,广场上;
它用雄伟的大理石墙保护一种静穆,
在关闭的教堂内部,分泌空。

每个地方都可以对应某种人的形象,
佛罗伦萨让我想到一个老妇人,
她站在沉重的深紫色窗幔背后
向外看,嘴角挂着冷嘲,客厅里
挂着一小幅从未公开过的波提切利。

我戚然于这种自矜,每当外族人
赞美我们古代的艺术却不忘监督
今天的中国人只应写政治的诗——
在他们的想象中,除了流血
我们不配像从前的艺术家追随美,

也不配有日常的沉醉与抒情;
在道德剧烈的痉挛中,在历史
那无尽的褶皱里,隔绝了
一个生命对自己的触摸,沦为
苦难的注脚,非人的殖民地。

所以我宁愿佛罗伦萨是敞亮的,
浅平的,如同露天咖啡馆的碟子,
那前来送甜点的女服务员因为意识到
我们注意着她的裙子而放缓了动作,
像一个蓬松的、熟透的贝阿徳里采——

午后的阳光卸下了每棵树的重量,
叶子的毛细血管扩展于风,那些阴影
经过我们的额头时变成另一种逗留,
那些警卫在拱廊里自语:从任何
博物馆的窗口向外看,总是美丽的。

 

-Zhu Zhu (朱朱)

trans. Dong Li (李栋)

 

‘Days with a Swedish Friend’, ‘The Wild Great Wall’, ‘Florence’, and ‘The Loudspeaker’ by Zhu Zhu with English translations by Dong Li have been republished by Rochford Street Review courtesy of Phoneme Media. The poems and accompanying translations were previously published in several international literary magazines and appear the impressive collection of Zhu Zhu’s work, The Wild Great Wall (Phoneme Media, 2018).


 

!The Wild Great Wall dusk jacketZhu Zhu (朱朱) was born in Yangzhou, P.R. China. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and art criticism, including a bilingual French edition translated by Chantal Chen-Andro. He’s the recipient of Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Critics and has been a guest at the Rotterdam and Val-de-Marne International Poetry Festivals. He lives in Beijing.

Dong Li () was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English language poet and translates from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/ Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/ Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.

Featured Translator Dong Li: Translator’s Note, The Wild Great Wall
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note
Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

The Wild Great Wall (野长城) by Zhu Zhu with translations by Dong Li is available from Phoneme Media

Featured Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

 

dong-li-photo-credit-humboldt-foundation-michael-jordan-january-2016-no-2.jpg

Dong Li. photograph taken by Michael Jordan, January 2016

Dong Li () was born and raised in P.R. China. He is an English language poet and translates from the Chinese, English, and German. He’s the recipient of a PEN/ Heim Translation Grant and fellowships from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Ledig House Translation Lab, Henry Luce Foundation/ Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and elsewhere.

Featured Translator Dong Li: Translator’s Note, The Wild Great Wall
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems
Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note

Purchase The Wild Great Wall by Zhu Zhu translated by Dong Li (Phoneme Media, 2018)

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Biographical Note

!2Zhu Zhu photo credit Fan Xi October 2014

Zhu Zhu. photograph taken by Fan Xi, October 2014

Zhu Zhu (朱朱) was born in Yangzhou, P.R. China. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and art criticism, including a bilingual French edition translated by Chantal Chen-Andro. He’s the recipient of Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Critics and has been a guest at the Rotterdam and Val-de-Marne International Poetry Festivals. He lives in Beijing.

Featured Writer Zhu Zhu: Four Poems
Featured Translator Dong Li: Translator’s Note, The Wild Great Wall
Featured Translator Dong Li: Biographical Note

Purchase The Wild Great Wall by Zhu Zhu translated by Dong Li (Phoneme Media, 2018)

 

Rochford Street Press announces the publication of ‘Truth in the Cage’ by Mohammad Ali Maleki

Rochdford Street Press and Verity La are proud to announce the publication of Mohammad Ali Maleki’s long awaited chapbook, Truth in the Cage. Written from within Manus Island detention centre, where Mohammad has been incarcerated for the last five years, Truth in the Cage is a powerful work of personal and political poetry.

Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener who has been living in detention on Manus Island for five years. His poetry, written in Farsi, is translated into English by fellow detainee Mansour Shoushtari. Mohammad uses his mobile phone to send his poems to friends in Australia who help to edit, share and publish them. Mohammad’s poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the impetus for, and first work published on, Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Since then, his writing has been published by online literary journal Bluepepper and by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. He has been a featured poet on Rochford Street Review and his poems and letters have been included in the Dear Prime Minister Project and at the Denmark Festival of Voice. His poem ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the Red Room Company’s 2016 New Shoots Poetry Prize and received Special Commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances. His poem ‘Silence Land’ was performed at the 2017 Queensland Poetry Festival as part of the Writing Through Fences performance, Through the Moon. An essay about his writing is forthcoming in the Extreme Texts Issue of Jacket2 magazine. Despite living in extreme conditions, Mohammad continues to create poetry saying, ‘You can find my whole life in my poems, like a letter to God.’

“Mohammad Ali Maleki, along with translator Mansour Shoshtari, present an intimate and lyrical window into their world of exile as political prisoners of Australia. The work is woven with an embodied sense of their poetic and literary heritages, resulting in deeply engaging, contemplative and passionate poems.  Maleki’s direct use of language often opens out into a magical horror – no less real – implicating the reader as much as the poet in a deconstruction and reconstruction of identity. ‘What if the woollen jacket I am wearing unravels / and begins to fall apart?’. Truth in the Cage delivers truths, uncomfortable and often torturous, through a painterly language, providing much-needed clarity in these times of obfuscation and systematic silencing”

 – Janet Galbraith, Writing Through Fences

There will be a launch for Truth in the Cage on July 17 at The Sydney Poetry Lounge. The book will be available for purchase on the night. All profits go directly to Mohammad.

.

Within Australia $10 plus $1 postage
.

Outside Australia
$16 including postage

 

Featured Artist Lisa Sharp: Biographical Note and Artist Statement

IMG_Lisa_01082017

Lisa Sharp. photograph by Rowan Fotheringham (2017)

Lisa Sharp is a Malaysian-born Australian artist, writer, curator and co-gallery manager. Currently based in Sydney, her painting practice sets out to explore ‘painting’ as action, object and historical discourse, all at once. Following an earlier career as a lawyer, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours in Painting from the National Art School, as well as Bachelors of Arts (English) and Laws from the University of Sydney and a Masters in Laws from the University of Technology, Sydney. Lisa likes to write and muse about art, art making and artists. Her blog is http://www.lisa-sharp.tumblr.com/

IMG_Judith+Holofernes_24102016

Lisa Sharp Judith and Holofernes, 2016, (diptych) Italian Green Earth pigment bound in tempera, oil and beeswax on panel, 20.5 x 15.5 x 1.2 cm each. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2016)

Selected exhibitions

2017
49 Sighs (solo) Factory 49
The Paddock III: Posted to New York, Aloft Harlem, New York
Annual Group Exhibition, Factory 49
RNPG at The Kiosk, The Kiosk, Katoomba
Ce qui aurait pu ne pas être, Galerie Abstract Project, Paris
Factory 49 at Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm, Sweden
Support / Surface Movement, Factory 49 Outside Wall Painting

2016
Hype, Creative Space 220
Painting Remnants (solo) Factory 49
Abbotsleigh Alumni Exhibition, Grace Cossington Smith Gallery
Annual Group Exhibition, Factory 49
The Paddock II: virtual fields, Factory 49
Unmake/make / dénouer/nouer (joint) Factory 49 Paris Pop Up

2015
Directors’ Show, Factory 49
Breaking Space, Imperial Hotel Paddington
National Art School Postgraduate Exhibition, National Art School
Honours 2015, Library Stairwell Gallery
Another Day in Paradise, National Art School
The Paddock: Looking back at The Field, Library Stairwell Gallery
To Be Continued (2), Factory 49
Feral, Articulate Project Space (as arts writer)

2014
Stilled Life, Sede Annandale
National Art School Graduate Exhibition, National Art School

Artist Statement

My practice explores the ways in which the form of painting, treated reductively, can conflate the material language, concrete processes and art history of painting. ‘Painting’ is action, object and ongoing historical discourse, all at once. A ‘painting’ can mean many things – it’s a verb, a noun, and also a narrative, and this dialogue underpins my approach. In my studio, ‘painting’ constantly slips between action, thing and conversation. In my mind’s eye, and then with my hands, I aim to make work that captures those slippages around the meaning of painting.

I work with the materiality of painting. The trio of support, surface and paint tend always to be addressed in my works, but to varying degrees and with an ongoing interrogation of the role each element plays. The absence, or surrogacy, of any of these elements can be telling. I am fascinated with the qualities of different materials, whether the absorbency of a surface or the origin of a pigment, and exposing the ways in which they function within a painting is quite often the basis for engaging with a work. Prioritising the role of the materials that underlie painting also shifts the emphasis from the pictorial to the structural and from composition to chance. The use of fairly traditional painting materials and practices alongside unconventional ones enables a playful, process-driven examination of painting while situating it within the contemporary visual arts.

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Lisa Sharp Painting Weaving, 2016, copper pigment in acrylic polymer on woven cotton string and cotton duck canvas, 55 x 55 x 3 cm. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2016)

In some works, there is an emphasis on surface, whether through the result of repetitive actions of layering successively lean paint strata, in horizontal then vertical bands, as if weaving, or through actually weaving the canvas from string and torn strips.

My most recent series, the ‘paintless paintings’ uses the absence of paint to point to traditional materials, nomenclature, even expectations about painting as potentially expressive sources of meaning. In the absence of paint, the support and surface of the works become magnified, leading to an interest in the textile minutiae constituting a canvas surface, and the significance particularly of used textiles. I have been experimenting with domestically sourced textiles as surrogates for canvas.

One series is based on used muslin teabags and uses an embroidery hoop in place of a stretcher.  I found that the absence of paint only stressed the mundane, body-like qualities of the canvasses. The titling ironically references the death of painting as well as bodily ecstasy. The scale, and indeed the surrogate materials are domestic and feminized, offering alternative interpretations and readings of the paintings.

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Lisa Sharp 49 Sighs, 2017, 2017, glue gesso on canvas with beeswax varnish and a copper tack, 10 x 10 x 10 cm each (installation view) Factory 49, Sydney. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2017)

A recent exhibition, 49 Sighs was an installation of 49 paintless paintings. Once more, building upon the material language and rhythms of a painter preparing for painting, these stiffened forms, molds of trapped air (my breath, a sigh) illustrate the unusual qualities of gesso, a traditional primer used to prepare a surface for painting. These interactions and metaphors were made possible between a collision of materials, form, process and body. I was playing with the idea that a painting could be absent of paint yet still be about painting.

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A Single Sigh, 2017, 2017, glue gesso on canvas with beeswax varnish and a copper tack, 10 x 10 x 10 cm. Factory 49, Sydney. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2017)

What constitutes painting? is a question which continues to feed and direct my practice. What are the material (and socio-political) conditions of its creation, and how do they affect its impact and meaning? Taking the most basic material structure of painting – paint on stretched canvas – as a fixed position from which to invert, interrogate and experiment, I continue to paint, and make paintings that speak to the history of painting.

-Lisa Sharp


 

 

ISSUE 24. Double Issue October 2017 – March 2018

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Photographer’s Shadow. Anna Couani. Photograph 2017

 

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Published by Rochford Street Press
ISSN 2200-9922

“An art work has to be approached—there are the footsteps”: Judith Rodriguez launched ‘Footsteps’ by Greg Rochlin at Collected Works Bookshop

Judith Rodriguez launches Footsteps by Greg Rochlin (Littlefox Press, 2016), 2.00pm, 22 October 2016 at Collected Works Bookshop

Footsteps A5 cover art etch linesHow long have I known Greg Rochlin? I don’t know. There are friendships where you’ve known someone for years but never felt you’ve known them. And there are those you’ve met, in class, on a committee, at a dinner, and they become part of your friendship circle; your life is changed that bit by them, they expand your world. Greg is one of those.

I can’t actually remember the CAE group he was in. But at Yak and then at the Moat meetings of poets, he’s an irregular regular, whose poems always create interest and sometimes discussion.

Should I add that Greg takes part in the Melbourne productions of plays in French? An extra language is an extra string to your bow; it opens up another literature in the medium in which it is best met—its own language. And it gets you thinking constructively about language, because other languages behave differently from English.

Greg is the only student poet I’ve known who has proposed a new and difficult poem form, the villanellette. It is, if you like, a parody of the villanelle that shows both its problems and its finesse. A trial and critique that both entertains and exercises the poet.

Now we have Footsteps—what a modest title, by a poet who understands that one is always going somewhere, making a fresh start, directing the words to be different from say, just conversation or a business mission statement. An art work has to be approached—there are the footsteps.

– Judith Rodriguez


Judith Rodriguez is a Melbourne poet. Her recent books are Manatee (2007) and The Hanging of Minnie Thwaites (2012). She wrote the libretto for Moya Henderson’s opera Lindy which was performed at the Sydney Opera House in 2002. She taught at La Trobe University (1969–1985) and Deakin University (1998–2003). Judith is a recipient of the Christopher Brennan Award.

 

Featured Writer Darby Hudson: ‘WALK’

WALK COVER

WALK

“To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home…”

-Charles Baudelaire on the flâneur (The Painter of Modern Life, Le Figaro, 1863)

The way you walk is your walk.
From a great distance, you can recognise your mum or brother by the shape of their walk, a mile away.

WALK 2 Darby Hudson

Your walk is your DNA in motion.
Your walk is your spirit saddling your body like a horse and taking it for a ride.

WALK 3 Darby Hudson

When you meet someone for the first time and they walk towards you,
you witness their vulnerability though the nakedness of space –
you see their whole body unconsciously attempt to own the earth in the face of impossibility.
It’s why when you see someone with a swagger, or a
rehearsed
.                    dance
.       move,
it gives you a sense of sorrow.
These are moves for an earth unowned, a life unlived.
But it’s why a walking conversation with a good friend is one of
the loveliest things possible.
And you are never alone.
Not alone at all.
If you want to summon the familiarity of your spirit, all you have to do is
walk the earth.
Even if it’s down to the shops.

WALK 1 Darby Hudson

-Darby Hudson

WALK is an illustrated poem. The full text of the poem, ‘WALK’, has been published in Rochford Street Review along with a number of illustrated pages from Darby Hudson’s mixed media book with the author’s permission.


Darby Hudson is a writer and artist from Melbourne, Australia. His poetry has been published in wet concrete, old trees, thin air, Best Australian Poems, Meanjin, and Cordite. His little book WALK, an illustrated poem, was independently published in 2017.

WALK is available from Readings Bookstores online