Monday, February 17, 2014

Constructions and Conversations

                                                                   Unknown Place

You know it when it hits you. You're stopped dead in your tracks, turning the pages, contemplating the pictures and words, wanting to know more of the artists who crafted them. I was perusing the bookstore at the Anchorage Museum, looking for nothing in particular, when Double Moon caught my eye. This was back in 2009. I bought the book on the spot, and couldn't wait to get home and sink into its contemplative matter: the artful combining of Margo Klass' constructions of found objects (she combs beaches, river banks, and junk shops for everything from old doorknobs to sticks of birch), and her spouse, writer, Frank Soos' responses to those constructions. It's rare when you receive a sudden whack on the side of the head in response to evocative art that shimmers. I keep this striking book close at hand so I can absorb the comfort of the artist's lovely pairings of "Constructions and Conversations."

A little bit about their bios before I share with you their work.

Margo's influences are derived from the study of medieval altarpieces, the art of bookbinding and the Japanese architect Tadeo Ando. Her constructions have been exhibited in galleries and private collections from Maine to Alaska. 
Frank's published works include Early Yet, Unified Field Theory, and Bamboo Fly Rod Suite. Frank and Margo live in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

"Klass often uses skylight-type panels that viewers can't completely see. The short prose pieces written by her husband, Soos, often deepen the mystery behind Klass' work, increasing the viewers level of engagement." (Juneau Empire)

So here we go...for a glimpse of a couple of Alaska's finest artists.

                                                             Celestial Navigation

What's so bad about not knowing exactly where you are? To round the corner and be taken by surprise? To look out the window and find a new world is waiting outside? With my driver's license safely in my pocket, I have permission to get out and go, to find a place where I might learn better who I am.

Rock Paper Scissors III

Notice the size of the scissors. We've entered the delicate phase of the procedure. 

Yes, there will still be cuts, but they will be made with greater precision. 

And the rock? Smaller, too.

Made for a more accurate aim. Will it still hurt? We haven't figured that part out yet.



Find the solution to this puzzle and the red ball will spring free. 

Then what? 

You'll have a red ball pulled loose from the tricky ins and outs that kept it running from side to side. 

You'll have a red ball with nothing left to do but get itself lost under the couch.

Long Winter

To know I've gathered enough wood for the woodpile. To be able to sit by the comfortable fire through the winter.

Shouldn't that be enough?

Left alone with my thoughts while the wind rocks the house, I hear the clock humming and find myself lacking. 

No the world doesn't ask too much. 

I offer too little.

Apparently Never

Behind that mustache and silly grin is just a guy, a guy who buys only tools with lifetime guarantees, a guy who will wear a shirt to rags and then use it for rags. 

When will it light up the tiny bulb of his brain: love is something that might lend itself to the job at hand,

that might wear itself comfortably in, 

that might grow to be a part of who he is?

     Early Snow

Remember when it snowed early that time? I think it was the fall of '92. It bent the trees still full of leaves over just like that. 

My father was in the hospital, far away, having his chest cut open, his heart repaired. That day, he almost didn't make it.

Come spring, we all thought the trees would right themselves, straighten right up. But they didn't. They never would.

If you're local, Margo and Frank's work is running through April 20, 2014 at the museum. Go see "Proximity" which includes altarpieces, box frames with found objects, and earthy handmade books.

Monday, February 10, 2014

It will be summer, always

    Gold Mint Trail, Hatcher Pass

                         Today is not a day I will be summer, always

                          not a day I longed for tall grasses to pant and froth
                          like winded ocean waves

                          Light clears the ridge for the first time
                          in two months and

                          a vicious storm brews behind my eyes
                          (place your hand on my heart, feel the trembling)

                          something bottomless is stuck, sinking slowly but
                          never reaching the ocean floor. 

                          Up here the air is thin, the sky cerulean blue
                          not your ordinary magic (ha)

                          a pale day-moon gathers, refusing to be extinguished

                          unwarmed by a brief slant of sun
                          the wind is cold

                          so cold it burns my cheeks.

                          No more talking:  listen
                          No more pushing:  yield

                          until the mud settles

                          until the water is clear.


Note: This poem made its arrival after hiking the Gold Mint Trail at Hatcher Pass yesterday with friends. The trail was hard packed, the wind severely blowing and cold...but we were exhilarated. Sometimes just getting out and walking in the natural world banishes all that ails us.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter's Heartbeat

    Photo: Kent Devine                                           "Winter's Heartbeat"

K. Devine

We walked the quiet woods, cameras dangling 

from our necks, the air cold and still. Soon our

steps became further spaced as you  

wandered away, following the scent of your 

camera's eye,  discovering anew ice-

rimmed leaves, a feather stuck to a tree,

brittle wands of willow.

Isn't every single day, a rare occasion?

Isn't every moment fresh with new possibility?

Listen, said e. e. cummings. There's a

hell of a good universe next door: let's go!

And so we went. Creating our own zig zagged 

trails through stands of birch and ice-tipped spruce, holding our own in this white icy 

world; moving, pausing, click click click

K. Devine
K. Devine

    M. Devine

And then an ice "zipper" at the river. deep blue

and dramatic

Ice buttons.  Ice bubbles.  Ice stars.

How did thy form so perfectly, with dimples and fringes, bulges and points?

A baby universe. here. under our feet

Ice new, and ice light years old.

A world ordinary and rare: pure-glazed and

crystalline cold.

                  M. Devine           "Ice Buttons"

          K. Devine

K. Devine

Note: These photos were taken on the Eagle River in Alaska, where we stumbled upon something rare on the river. Formations we'd never seen before, probably due to a previous melting of snow cover, then freezing temperatures, caused puckers around stones and crystals of ice hanging off the ends of rock. We found them interesting, showy and quite dramatic.