Escape Into Life: Issue no. 22


photograph by Randy P. Martin

Photo by Randy P. Martin

Gilbert and George…. This knife-edged essay by Tony Thomas examines the quirky and challenging work of British tandem artists Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore. Spanning more than thirty years, the bulk of their imagery employs a trademark grid format using black and white elements punctuated by intense primary colors, graphic words and images, and ongoing self-portraiture. These two artists continue to break societal taboos with an unpredictable and ever-changing perspective that integrates intense and mysteriously personal elements with political and religious motifs. Thomas elegantly captures the rebel spirit and complexity of these works without attempting to attach a precise meaning to the imagery.

A review of The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution, by Dennis Dutton …. Those intrigued by the relationships between art and biological and anthropological theory, will be fascinated by David MacLagan’s examination of Dutton’s arguments concerning the function and origin of artistic urges. Is it possible to arrive at a consensus on “a universal phenomenon recognisable to us as ‘art’, which can be identified as such in all cultures”? Exploration of an evolutionary theory of art from the Pleistocene to the present should provide resources for dinner table discussion for the foreseeable future.

Poetry by Diane Lockward …. Succulent and specific imagery embroiders the seductive tones of Lockward’s work. Her verses draw the reader into a familiar yet exotic world of nuanced tenderness and scintillating color. She is the author of Temptation by Water and What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize.

Poetry by Maureen Alsop …. The all-too-human longing for prescience forms the underlying metaphor for these five poems. Each provides the reader with a divinatory reading that combines humor, despair, and memory with the random accuracy of slyly prophetic imagery. Alsop is the author of Apparition Wren (Main Street Rag) and several chapbooks, most recently Luminal Equation in the collection Narwhal from Cannibal Press, 2009.

The Cellular World …. When the mind is numb from processing information, can an escapist movie “reboot” the creative forces? In this essay Morris Berman suggests that by slipping into a purely visual experience we can experience relief from the tyranny of the prefrontal cortex.  Berman asks hard questions about personal and cultural authenticity, but offers the hope that by stimulating deep longings and submerged dreams and memories, the flow of imagery may allow us to revert to a state of play that makes creative work not only  possible, but critical to the life force.

Stacy EricsonStacy Ericson is an editor and photographer who has been writing poetry since she was a child. Her work often reflects her interest in other cultures, ancient languages and religion, and visceral passions.  She says “To me poetry is a very serious undertaking involving studying poets that have gone before, the changing styles and goals of different time periods, specific imagery, unexpected juxtapositions,  and a consciousness of meter and trope.”