Ekphrasis…what an honor !

Ekphrasis, the artistic practice of a poet or artist inspired by one piece of art that another, generally a poem, is created in its honor. This is an ancient tradition, Homer in both his Illiad and The Odyssey frequently gushes about lovely delicately wrought brooches and elaborate too-pretty-for-war battle shields. The Poetry Foundation describes ekphrasis as :

“an ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art.” More generally, an ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired or stimulated by a work of art.”

Generally understood as a literary practice I myself however have almost exclusively been inspired to produce tributes to poetry and literature through the visual arts. I frankly cannot think of a single piece of work NOT inspired by literature .  My installation piece Embodied:St. Anthony & the Desert of Tears is directly inspired by Flaubert’s magnificent hallucinatory  noodle-buster The Temptation of Saint Anthony (which in turn was inspired by a marionette performance of the same theme).  My work is either illustration (which I would disagree with ) or ekphrastic tribute. As ekphrasis is a beautiful  somewhat haughty  and daunting word, I will go with the latter.

All that said I have been honored recently to have TWO works of art made in tribute to my own art! That is an extraordinary experience. The first is a work of poetry by the artist Edwin Vasquez who had a personal inspiration from my Temptations of St. Anthony of the Desert (below). This poet and artist sent me both the poem and a very poignant  note explaining the meaningfulness of my work to his own personal experience. Like so many artists I work in isolation and frankly never give consideration to potential viewers or their reaction to the work. To have such a touching tribute be sent my way, well that  is incredibly validating and much appreciated. The following is Edwin’s poem and a link.

 

The Temptations of St. Anthony of the Desert
2018
Oil on panel
18 by 36 inches

The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert

by Edwin Vasquez


Restless river zig-zagging like a poisonous desert snake

mirroring a non-existent, pale blueish color

from the grey hue of the restless sky.

On the right, in the forefront, St. Anthony stands in a catatonic state

behind a hollow tree trunk that resembles an empty cave where demons play,

his hand with painted nails holds the trunk — perhaps for dear life.

His forehead partially reflects the shadow from the twisted, carved cross,

accenting his sad and somber, melancholic face;

he resembles an animal in distress,

the saffron tunic replaced with a

tight costume – toxic green – accentuating his features,

yet he is not man nor woman,

he is animal, haunted by his own desires and demons.

The joke is on them:

the Bishop and King, the centaur and satyr, the jokers and demons;

they, in disgust, look away from him, who they want to scare —

he, who lost himself in the desert of his soul.

Link:https://sagebrushcafe.wordpress.com/ravensong/?fbclid=IwAR0VHEPDJgO5diiQQ4s8sZqNPT_UoXN7J3nFtrDwNqGJxzZNClnJ2rzmaQg

 

If that wasn’t exciting enough, another artist Jason Jenn has crafted a performance piece around my installation Embodied:St. Anthony & the Desert of Tears. I haven’t seen the work yet and have consciously distanced myself from any input , eager instead to see what this talented friend comes up with. The image associated with the performance of  Temptations in Fairyland delights the heck out of me.

Temptation in Fairyland
Jason Jenn

A link to the performance is on this Facebook events page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/387324135388019/

I don’t know what to expect, and like everyone else I will have to wait and see on March 16th, but I am  unabashedly excited.

And honored.

“The Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert at the Baths of St.Mark”
2016
sanguine pencil on paper
18 by 24 inches

This  solo show experience has been a great source of personal gratification. I am on a sort of forced break from the studio, first I am in the process of moving the studio to another location, but more importantly (and more pleasurably) meeting friends at MOAH/Cedar to walk them through the galleries. I haven’t socialized this much in years, a bit daunting for an introverted hermit but what a delight. Today I met two really darling friends, both very talented artists, Malka Nedivi and Simone Gad, this photo being a treasured memento (my pups travel pretty much everywhere I go at this point).

Malka, left, The Dogwalker and Simone, right.

Again, what an honor!

The Temptations of St. Anthony of the Desert
2018
Oil on panel
18 by 36 inches