Longhand Forest, 70″ x 216″.
Mixed media/paper, 2014
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This project expounds on a familiar ekphrastic model by physically encasing a poem within a drawing. Readers are invited to find and extract rolled verses as they walk along the picture. The length of the ‘page’- extending over 18 feet in the original version, proposes a process of looking that extends far beyond normative peripheral vision.
The calibrated line lengths of the sections in LB Thompson’s book length poem The Fibonacci Monstrosities exactly match the building and then tapering proportions found in the algorithm that delineates a sunflower’s spiral growth. The seemingly random placement of scrolls hidden in the forest coalesces gradually into mirrors of the template used in the poem’s architecture – the grand duet of opposing Fibonacci curves.
A hand-held ink pen, alluded to in the drawing’s title Longhand Forest, is rarely used in such an exaggerated scale. My choice of this instrument points again to the links between writing and drawing in this collaboration. The hyper dense forest foliage is equated, like writing, with mental activity rather than a description of observed nature. In this left-to-right literary landscape, countless dead-end paths and tangled thickets create an increasingly drone-like pressure. Finally, when the wished-for breathing space arrives in the last panel, a clearing emerges not as a sunny meadow- but as a Rorschach blot littered with references to sound and speech. The lectern and newspaper pictured here as indicators of culture do not call up the relief of a pastoral- but are, as so elegantly indicated in Thompson’s text, a cool commentary starring our own inner beasts and the dark chaotic trip we take, heading, hopefully, towards wiser geometries of form.