New York Times Notable Book author Tyler (Blue Glass, 2014, etc.) and her editorial team of artists and writers present an eclectic collection of artwork and creative writing.
Two arts organizations team up for this exhibition catalog and writing anthology. Woven Tale Press publishes a monthly “cyber magazine” that gathers both graphic art and prose from many different websites. The book at hand presents a selection of writings that appeared in the e-zine during 2015, selected by Tyler and her editorial team, and pieces from a show of visual artists that opened in December 2015 at the Empty Spaces Project Gallery in the small, progressive town of Putnam, Connecticut. The collection offers a broad array of work in different media by midcareer artists. Each feature presents a short artist’s statement, along with images representing his or her work, which vary widely in style. Amagansett, New York–based painter Elizabeth Sloan Tyler’s large, abstract canvases portray the ever-changing coastal light through translucent layering of subtle colors. Photographer Paul Toussaint, who also manages Empty Spaces, presents image collages that feature disquieting or pensive faces. The pieces of flash fiction and poetry that the editors have chosen often exemplify the wandering evanescence of much blog-based work. “Scraped, scored and scratched, / minor vacuum of the sky crossed out / with a memory of vapour, debris,” writes poet Colin Dardis in “Comet.” However, native Ohioan Kelly Garriott Waite’s tautly written story “Something Extraordinary,” about a girl and her tooth, shows a genuine mastery of the short-short fiction genre: “As she watched the gravy bleed into her corn, Louisa realized that missing teeth were painful truths.” The book’s blend of complex purposes, genres, and media proves the difficulty of clearly conveying these aesthetic offerings in a stand-alone book. However, it serves as a rich catalog for the gallery and press whose combined efforts produced these works.
An engaging fusion of print and the Web, featuring works by experienced artists and writers seeking a greater audience.