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LITEAARY ART MAGAZINE


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Staff Edito r Laura Smit h

• .•• C on te nt s • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • POE TRY

/\Janaging Edito r Nanc y S. Swon g Desig ner Roop ali Kam bo

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Mitch Robertson

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,4 rt Edito r Krist en Cape hart Copy Edito r Karla Bale nt

Mrs. Bent ley Tim Casey

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Design Assis1 ant Debo ra Patte rson

Write r's Bloc k

The -Mom ent

Dana Chamblee

15

Well-Trained

Bob McCl uskey

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Peter, after cutti ng Juda s down from the tree Michael Cartwright

FJ'ction Edito r Bonn ie Prieb el Non- Fictio n Edito r Laura L. Atkin son Poetr y Edito r Dann y Colli er Supp ortin g Staff Vita Jaco bs Robe rt Malc olm Facu lty Ad\'i sors Jane Pope Eric Smit h

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Dream, Augu st 1983 Brent Cross

• • • •

• • • •

• • .

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No One Knew

.

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Bag of Worm s

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Mother-in-Law

Brent Cross

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Song for Web er Brent Cross

Brent Cross

Janet Morgan

P.A. Furlong

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Pearl Harb or Day Chancellor Jack E. Reese

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Volume 30 Issue 2 Spring 1989 ~ Copyright 1989 by the University oj aennessee. 7111 rights reserVed by the inJiviJual wntributors. 'Phoenix is prepared camera-ready by student staff members anJ is published twice a year. Works oj art, fiction, non-fiction anJ poetry are accepted throughout the academic year. SenJ submissions to 'Phoenix, :Room 5, Communications 'Building, 1345 Circle Park 'Drive, Knoxville, aN 37996-0314.

Vege-Rhythm

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29

Horiz ons Sheck leford White

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Bird Spla t Charity Chang

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[lire sculpture appean'ng on page 20 ff tire last issue ff Plroenix was incorrectly creJ/~eJ to.1. .elntecume. [lire COffect artist is Suzanne Zucker.


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ART

2

Robert

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Erotic Rebecca

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d

Cathey

Fairyta Shope

Light A scends Trevor H awkins

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Feuer

Melanie

10

26 le

27

Beverly

Bagby

29 33

Brecht

34

Robert

FICTIO

d

4 30

llough

rtrait

32

Withou t Disinte Life There is gration Always Susa

"Schla

20

Three

Spi

rits Todd P lough

22

Buggy

Kelly W hite

25

Untitle

d

E r i k Le sser

"

Cathey

Blue D ucks Squirre

Ward

l G

R a l p h M un onday

T h e Sa ving G race Anan d Malik

NON-F

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ffe

n" Todd P lough

d

e

N

Michael

ulb He ad Jeanne McCu

n Holle y

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Untitle

35

,

d

Jay L i n tecum

Tinah U tsman

16

Shope

Light P ainting T Untitle

over

Lightb

Self-Po

d

o d d Plo ugh

Jay Rob instein

15

Brecht

Faith Rebecca

Vogel

Kevin L awson

Untitle

14

28

Stones

13

Untitle

ous Dr eams

Tim Ca sey

t h e Sta irs

Platkin

Underc

Danger Beverly

Kids N ight Ou t Laurie

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12

Untitle

ICTION

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In D e f e nse of Flag B Michael urning Cartwri ght To Thi ne Ow n Self Debora Be Tru Patterso e n

[Jhe sta 'Betty 7llle ff oj Phoenix wouL J li n, Smith, for for her patience w ke to express specia ith our co l thanks to his constan mputer illi ta her kind w teracy; to ords and en ttention and good a 'Eric dvice; to J thusi Graham, fo ane Pope r their tole asm for our ideas; to , for rance for Karen Cole Publicatio our busy ns and Cu a n d E in w d ltural 7lffa a o irs 'BoardS rk; and to the Stu dent , for thei r financial su pport.

~


Untitled

:.Robert Cathey


Erotic Fairy Tale

:Rebecca Shope

3


Sometimes a memory isn't as hard as what it leaves behind.

4

Red sat by the window and watched the dust cloud follow the car up the drive. The fins on its back made it look like one of those rocket ships he had read about. Preachers, he noticed, spent a lot on cars. As the crunch of gravel drew nearer, he got up from the chair and put on his jacket. The feel of wool against his arms barely registered at all. How old, he wondered, was she now? He stepped out the front door. He had to squint to make out the face of the girl on the passenger side. She looked just like her mother. He could tell that much even through the windshield. She had matted blonde hair that clung close to her scalp and spread out of its own accord the farther away it got from her head; even had that same small nose with an upward turn at the end. Her mother had had a way of cocking her head to one side and staring across her nose that could make a man forget the mileage. Red wondered how far the acorn had fallen from the tree. He couldn't really see her eyes through the glare. Probably the same cold blue. His brother had run off the day she was born. Red never understood why they got married in the first place. He knew why - but knowing why wasn't understanding. What had made him think it was his child anyhow? Everybody in H umboldt knew about Betsy. The car rolled to a stop. The dust crept up from behind and settled around. It left a gritty taste in his mouth. The preacher turned toward the girl and mumbled something, probably a word of warning, and got out of the car. As the door shut behind him, it made a tight clicking sound. He was a withered looking man, even for a preacher, all bones and veins. His tangled hair blew back against its part. "Afternoon, Mr. Herndon," he said. "Bill Johnson, we talked on the phone this morning." "Reverend. " "Glad to meet you, Red." Tijey shook hands. Red looked at the girl. "How's her mother?"

"Don't know yet." The preacher began to walk, putting some distance between the car and them. "Said they took out all they could find, but you never really know with these things." "How's the girl taking it?" The preacher scrunched his brows together. "Been doing just fine, near as I can tell. Matter of fact, it's been kind of worrying me. Hadn't shown a lick of concern one way or the other; course, I'm not so sure she'd open up to me, even if she did feel the need to talk. Her mother wasn't exactly the church going type. " "How long till they know for sure?" Red stopped, folded his arms, and looked back towards the car. "One way or the other, I should know something in a couple of weeks." He paused for a moment. "Listen Red, I know this ain't going to be easy. Sandy's done told me that you ain't had nothing to do with her or her mother since your brother ran off, and ( ain't criticizing, on account of I'm not so awful sure of what I'd have done in your shoes. The truth is, I hadn't even given Sandy much thought, until some of the women came by complaining about this fifteen-year-old girl living down on Chester Street all by herself. Trouble was, everybody said I should do something about it, but nobody wanted to help." "Afraid she was like her mother. " "I guess so." "Is she?" Red watched his face as he struggled with the question. "I don't know. We talked a bit on the way up from Jackson, seems like a bright enough girl. Understand you're a teacher?" "I teach science at the high school. " "Well, I guess you've got experience handling kids of all sorts, probably come in handy." He glanced at the car. "My sister-in-law works for human services, I just didn't think putting her in a home would do anybody any good right now. Don't know what we'd have done if you'd said no."


"Had to keep her at your house, I guess." "Reckon so." They eyed each other. The old preacher didn't seem so scrawny anymore. "I'll see what 1 can do about arranging something permanent, in case worse comes to worse. " Red nodded. "I'll do the best I can." "Can't ask no more." The preacher turned toward the car, and motioned for Sandy to get out. Red had tried to forget how pretty her mother used to be. Seeing Sandy brought back the memories. He could sense her sizing him up the same way he was her; looking for some family resemblance, and hoping that there wasn't any. It could only make things worse. Red couldn't really tell one way or the other, she looked so much like Betsy. She even had the same cold eyes. Seeing them was like looking at the sky through a piece of ice. Red used to sit on the porch for hours, staring into those eyes, thinking that if he could only see deep enough, he might read her thoughts before they formed. It had always floated around in the back of his mind that maybe her mother wouldn't have urned our the way she had if he hadn't gone off to college, but just stayed at home like she had wanted. If she had figured it would bring him back, then she had been way off the mark. He'd told her he'd come back. She could have waited. Seeing the girl made his guts twist inside like a boy caught in a lie; and rather than admit what he felt, he smiled as she came closer. "Sandy, this here-'s your Uncle Red." The preacher was wearing that glad to see you smile that preachers wear from time to time and nobody really believes in anyhow. "Glad to meet you," she said. She looked over at the house. "Aluminum siding?" "You got it," Red replied. "Figures. You get twenty miles outside of 1ackson and what do you get? Tin houses. Nobody paints anymore." . Red looked at the preacher, who was shaking his head slowly from side to side. He guessed she was just trying to act grown up; even so, he was kind of surprised by her down-to-business attitude. At least she hadn't called him Uncle.

"Well, ,R ed," the preacher began. "What do you say we go ahead and get her stuff unloaded. I told momma I'd be home in time for supper." He looked up at the sky. "Weather man's calling for snow this weekend, supposed to be a cold front coming through." "Hope it don't. I kind of got plans." Red turned toward the girL "You ever been duck hunting?" "Don't have anything against it, long as we eat what we shoot," she turned and walked toward the preacher's Impala. He gave Red an 'I told you so' shrug as he reached for his keys.

"I like my chili spicy," she said as she tapped her bowl with her spoon. Red swirled a saltine in the broth that covered his beans, and wiffed at the steam that rose. Across from him, Sandy raised a spoonful to her mouth and began to eat, smiling behind puffed cheeks. He lowered his spoon into his bowl and raised it, studying her face as he tasted. Not at first, but-slowly, a hot fire began to move up his throat and into his mouth. Sandy looked down into her bowl and shoveled herself another spoonful. "Mmm," she said. "Good, isn't it?" The fire began to spread into his ears and the back of his eyes. He looked at his glass of water and then at hers. She made a slurping sound and took another bite. He forced himself to take another spoonful, and for a moment, the burning subsided until it came back twice as strong. "Damn," he blurted and reached for his glass. The ice cubes clumped against his lips as he chugged. "Well?" She smiled. "It's hot." He lowered bis glass. "So?" "Afraid I don't eat much chili." He reached for the water pitcher. A picture of Rocky the Squirrel's smiling face stared innocently at him from behind its glass handle. "Too hot?" "No. It's just that, like I said, I don't each much chili, least not homemade. " "Sure." She went back to her meal, pausing every now and then to

wipe her lips with the papertowel she kept across her lap. Red forced himself to eat three quick spoons, which he swallowed without chewing. He could feel beads of sweat forming on his forehead. He looked at her glass. It was still full : Too bad, he thought, as he reached for more water. "So," he said. "You got a boyfriend?' ! "Nope. Why do you ask?" "1 ust curious." "Why?" "People don't have to have a reason for being curious, it's just human nature." "Well, I've about had it with human nature." "Meaning what?" He swallowed down the rest of his water. She left her spoon in her bowl and looked-him in the face. "What do you care?" "What do you mean by that?" '-'You 'h>ard me." "Yeah, I heard you. Life disappoints you?" he asked. "I never said any such thing." "Sure." He sipped his glass. "Then what's your point?"路 She took anotHer bite and washed it down with some water. "All my life, I been treated like dirt. Why? 'Cau搂e of something I done? People don't even give me a chance. How about you, where you been all my life?" "Look, Sandy, that's different. " "How?" She wiped her lips with the papertowel and left it crumpled on the table. "It just is." "'Cause you and Mom used to be sweethearts?" "Something like that." "Well, you wasn't the only one." He could feel the blood in his face. "I used to be." "Then whaCd you run off for?" "Listen. I don't need to hear some half-baked chatter from a teenage girl who don't no more know about me than the man in the moon." He pointed his index finger for effect. "My reasons are my own. You like having a place to stay? You'll leave it at that." "Sure." She pushed her chili around with her spoon. They ate in silence. He 'would have liked to have told her it was the worst chili he had ever had, and

5


, 'Brilliant . ' , He laid his papers on the lampstand "You want out?"

done." "Meaning what." "Meaning nothing. et your alarm for five. We got a long day, tomorrow.' , ~ ~-"'-Tll.,.n":{l ' ic y toward the window, . . , - - - -.hot.rrefe that he had looked. "I thought people went duck hunting in the winter all the time, " she said. ' , Just because it snows shouldn't be that big a deal." "They do, and usually it's no " He turned back. She hadn't move ,\ . "Put on a robe." "What?" "You heard me. If you don't have one, mine's in the bathroom." She folded her arms. "You never seen a woman's body before?" "Sure is cold," he said. "Least it's not windy." Her He looked her in the eye. hair blew anyway. "Whether I have or haven't isn't the issue here. It's just that I don't "Your hands cold?" want to see yours." "Kind of." "Here." He stopped and began She sat down on the sofa, and to pull off his gloves. scratched at the floral pattern that "No, just give me one." She stretched across it. "So, we going hunting?" smiled. Her teeth were milky white. "They're freezing," he said, He pointed towards the cradling them between his before bathroom. "It's hanging behind the handing her a glove. door." She left her free hand in his. "Yeah, sure." She walked into "At least they got company." the bathroom with a grown-up Red squeezed her hand inside mince. She stepped around the door his, and then pulled it to his chest. without a backward glance, return"I love you, Betsy." ing with the old brown robe around She closed her eyes and leaned her. "Happy?" her face towards his. Her upper lip "Thrilled. " shook softly, as if it couldn't hold "So, what's the deal, we snowthe pucker. A part of him had kissed ed out?" her just to stop their trembling, but "I didn't say that."

6

Sandy stood on the edge of the shore, breaking a small round section out of the ice with a mallet. Bundled up in Red's old clothes, she looked like a small boy with a runny nose. "This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. I mean, really, we could have just stayed at the house. It wouldn't have mattered to me. Who needs to hunt ducks anyway?" "Quit your griping and keep busting, I'm telling you, it's going to work." He pulled out a square bottle of dye and shook it vigorously. "Well listen here," water splashed as the mallet struck, "maybe Momma was right about you, I mean, you really expect this to work, don't you?" He put the bottle of blueing back into his coat pocket. "What did she say?" Sandy let the mallet rest and looked up. She blew out through her mouth. A stream of cold white smoke turned clear as it pass'ed her chin. '~Said you was the smartest man she'd ever known. But I don't see it. I mean, President Kennedy says we're going to send men to the mooIl;t and I think, maybe we can. But this. . t 1 ' ., is crazy." Sandy rubbed her nose and sniffled. She


pulled the hand away from her face and pointed at the small patch of water. "Is this big enough?" "Yes, it's fine." He paused for a moment, surprised that he had cared. He'd always thought she wasn't impressed by things like that, always figured she had liked him despite his smarts, not because of them. Could she, he wondered, have been proud after all? He rubbed a spot in the snow with the bottom of his foot for a moment before he looked back up. "Here," he said as he reached down, "give me a hand with this." Together, they lowered the bucket, filling it with water and then lifting it onto the ice. Red pulled the bottle of blueing out of his pocket and added some to the water until it turned a deep blue. Careful to remain close to the shore where the ice was thickest, they spread the dye. As the blueing solution hit, it froze, making a growing patch of blue that they hoped would fool the ducks. The overlapping indigo of buckettossed stain shimmered in the winter sun. Red picked up the pail and.,Carried it to the pile of brush that they would hide behind. The first few ducks circled for a while, flying a little lower each time they did. Red had always thought that ducks were curious animals. Individually, they were among God's dumber creatures; but, once they joined a migr3ting flock, they seemed to acquire a presence of mind that could confound even the most seasoned hunter. "Now don't start shooting till they begin to land. Understand?" "Got it." Her voice was barely a whisper. "Relax, they'll be checking it out for a while." "Won't they hear you?" "It's not their ears we need to worry about - too windy - it's their eyes." "Really?" "God gave dogs noses, gave cats claws. Bjrds, he gave them eyes. If a bird could read, it could tell you the clate on a penny from a hundred yards up." "You serious?" "Really. " "Can I ask you sometHing?" "Go ahead." "You got a lady-friend?" He smiled. "Yeah, I guess I do." "You don 't know?"

"It's nQt that easy to explain. You spend a lot of time with somebody, you figure that sooner or later, you won't be able to live without them. Trouble is, love isn't logical. " "What do you mean?" "Well, take this girl I been seeing -" "What's her name?" "April." "Pretty name." "Yeah, I guess it is. You see, me and April been seeing each other for on and off three years now." "On and off?" "That's my point, on and off like ... well, like buddies or something. Don't get me wrong, Sandy. Friendship's a damn fine thing. It's just not love." "I see." He looked down at her and then skyward, wondering if she really did. "Only shoot the green heads." "Got you." The ducks came in, webbed feet lowered, wings spread flat against the oncoming wind like open parachutes to keep their faces out of the water when their rumps splashed down. As they landed, their feet slid like skis. Their back ends flipped round and they went twisting and flopping, like airplanes out of control, across the ice. Their bodies, smeared with blue, slid off the frozen pond and into the shore Red looked at Sandy. She wore a face twisted with disbelief, that slowly relaxed to a smile as the ridiculous continued. She glanced quickly at Red, and then back to the ducks. Finding them still tliere, she let out a howl that turned into real, unbridled laughter. Red resisted for a while but finally joined in as he squatted there beside her. The fact that they could shoot at will eluded them. The survivors, now painted blue, flew off into the sky quacking testimony to their folly, while others who were too injured to fly, lay squawking at the edges of the pond. They sung out like a giant chorus of duck calls, urging others below to the blue facade . Red grew silent as the ducks continued to land, caught in the absurdity of it all. Sandy stayed doubled over with laughter. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she began to chuckle harder, until kneeling in the snow with her head thrown back, she began to make snorting

noises like people do who laugh through their nose. He stared at her as she laughed, until she became aware of it and stopped. "Your mother used to make that noise," he explained. "Kind of sounds like a pig rooting." She smiled. "I hate it when I do that." Red grinned at her, and lifting his gun skyward, fired a couple of rounds to frighten off the circling drove. He motioned toward the ice and began to walk in that direction. She followed as he circled the pond, picked up the injured ducks and snapped their necks. After watching how he did it a couple of times, she began to help him, carefully imitating the crack-whip motion. They took half a dozen of the green heads backJo the truck and buried the browns路 under a leaf pile in the woods. It was against the law to kill the females, Red explained, but no sP9rtsman lets an animal suffer needlessly.

For a long time they drove in silence. Red felt strangely contented by the experience, wondering from time t<;> time just how he would end Up' telling this story when he was an old man with nothing better to do. When he tried to ima~ine just who he'd tell, he found himself looking at Sandy. She was staring out the window. A man shouldn't have to spend his life alone, he realized. He found himself wishing for a second that she was his child. Betsy'll be all dght, he told himself, no point"in getting so attached. Sandy whispered, "Momma," as they rounded the be-nd. She had her head tilted back slightly, balancing tears on her eyes as if crying were the worst crime in the world. "What is it, Sandy?" he asked. "Uncle Red ... Momma's died." As she turned her face toward his, the tears began to slide out onto her face. Red looked out through Sandy's window and across the field that joined the back of his property. He could see the preacher's green car waiting in the drive. He looked back at Sandy. She was sitting there looking at him as if he should have some explanation for it all. She was rubbil).g her nose with the tips of her fingers and then tracing the lines of her own face, as if to say, this can't

7


Light Ascends the Stairs

{Jrevor Hawkins

could make up for all the wasteB time and wash tHe guilt away . His eyes began to fill w~th water. He'd have to watch her around the boys.

8


Feuer Vogel

Melanie 'Bagby

9


oU \ Eaurie Platkin


fL.\ p

11


12 Stones

Kevin .rawson


Untitled

Jay :Robinstein

The Moment

I remember we were in the livingroom looking at wallpaper sample books when you told me about the affair. I asked you if the flowers were too splashy for the room. You told me her name and that you preferred the stripes. And I remember thinking this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and that I would spend my days caged in by the wallpaper you selected in the moment you told me this.

Dana Chamblee

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Jeanne McCullough

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Well-' l'ralneO Sometimes when I lay awake inthe night, I hear the haunting howl of a moonlit train Running past my window. I feel cozy and womby, Safe underneath the covers, protected from the cold clackity-clickity mumbling monotone iron blackness of industrial night. I love these last few hours of sleep. I wish they could last forever or At least longer than two minutes but they don't, And once again I am born again into the horrors of a sunny post-industrial morning with Bryant Gumbel.

130b jV{cC?luskey

~O

o

Self Portrait

Clinah Utsman


~"' ~ ' '<

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•. . '

····: ·: :' ~·

~

I ....

-'

'en" . i

Without life there is always disintegration

S usan Holley

PETER, AFTER CUTTING JUDAS DOWN FROM THE TREE You lie there Brother like a sack of wheat in retirement from the field on the threshing floor while I await the cock's interruption of a day's second dawn. Michael Cartwright

16


"Schlaffen"

aoJJ Plough

17


'Brent Cross

Vege-rhythm This little bluish flowery thing is stuck to my banana and I cannot get it off of there no matter how I pull it. There is a mashed potato in a bowl upon the table right beside the pepper shaker and a yellow can of corn.

This browning head of lettuce that I keep refrigerated

is a private monumental piece to ward off all nutrition.

18


1--O?;p .'

No One KneW In nW room, young and not caring, I craved mY father's wet chest, just under the surface of sloW-cooling bath water. It waS that one small part of me, \ike mother's stretch marks, that kept wanting to touch a man.


Jl 'Bag

of Worms

I planneo to oeiiver a boy. 'But my chilJ was puffy anJ fleshy. She was limp. My chilJ was quickly replaceo by a plastic ooll in a reeo basket. Haro plastic with rigio limbs. I was tolo to give life to this plastic with my milk. I nurseo her. I helo her to the light. I shook her. I saw anJ hearo the milk move in her hollow booy. I searcheo the trash Jar my fleshy chilo. I JounJ insteao a rag ooll. Neither flesh nor plastic - a cloth ooll. I was tolo to give life to this cloth with my milk. JI. spirit-ooll in my house. She flew Jrom closet to corner. She hovereo. She hung Jrom strings. She guioeo ,vith no communication. Jl.nJ when she coulo speak, she askeo, "Does your heartJeellike a bag of worms?"

Janet Morgan

20

Three Spirits aooo Plough


Mother-in-.fAw three years beJore your oeath, on your birthoay, I oreameo you were pregnant at age seventy-three; once again your Jormer husbanO implanteo pomegranates with orange seeos bursting. if only you coulo ascenO easily, phoenix-like, into rarifieo morning mist anO be gone. insteao, you come back to haunt me, telling me to have your son give you a phone call. how you loveo to talk! being silent may be, Jor you, the haroest part oj being oeao. but are you oeao when you return so often at night? just last night, youJell with a louo thuo on my beoroomjloor, surrounOeo yourself with apothecary's vials oj blooo that kept you alive. you reJuseo to be embalmeo. you openeo your lovely sarcophagus oj relics, crosses, silver jewelry, where the holy name oj Saint Jinne was engraveo. I know if I keep the top on your glass cqf{in, without air, you, the arch-perfectionist, will stay alive. ~ut if I unhinge the treasure box oj Saint Jinne, GranO Mother ojJesus, woman oj 'Earth ano Sky, matter anO spirit will meet within to keep me Jrom the Jate oj women like you who oeJecteo to the patriarchy.

Pat Adams Furlong

21 .


BUGGY

22

Kelly White


Pearl Harbor Day I replay like an old film seen repeatedly Each frozen frame of Pearl Harbor Day. We went early that Sunday to Papa's house Where he lay dying, bloated and obscene, Lips fat and twisted, Veins, vessels popping in his head. Then came the radio reports, The first, only special edition of the Times-News. Thank God no one had to tell him About those yellow devils Preying on some vaguely distant but American place, Hugging the horizon, blowing up ships and men. He would have blamed it all on Roosevelt And shortened his own life a few hours or days By rage against that Hyde Park snob, Cigarette holder dripping from an effete wrist, Matched in horror by horsefaced Eleanor. So we guarded him against that fury, Against the radio, the headlines. He lay quietly a few days, groaning now and then, Then died, unaware of carnage in foreign places. Afterwards, at Shepherd's Funeral Home, They laid him out, rouged and shiny, In a purple velvet shell. Then came Western Union with the news Of Uncle Frank, drowned aboard the warship Arizona Overturned in Pearl Harbor Bay. (In newsreel after newsreel I saw that scene, Straining to spot his cubicle.) Ironic ending here: never a chance to fight back, Gouge, kick, bite, club or cut, Pull a trigger, throw a bomb; Thus helpless the town bully, Swaggering, mercurial king of brawls. Terror of the school that locked him out, Smirking, unrepentant hulk before judge after judge Until one finally said, jail or the Navy, I don't care, Except you're going to leave this town. He'd show up from time to time in his sailor suit, Get drunk, break some heads, Spend the night in jail, then board the bus, To everyone's relief It didn't seem right he should die cooped up; We had figured some other end for him. So that, too: a shapeless mass, Swollen, lips twisted, Floating and caged forever, forever nudging bulkheads. Things seemed neater after then: Gold stars hung primly in parlor windows, Uniformed brothers, home on leave, heroic and vain, Moviehouse views of Folkers spinning down, trailing smoke, Terror at the periscope as the depth charges came. Through all the years since, Through all the stylized movie wars, The nightly news from Bastogne and Corregidor, Televised body counts from Dienbeinphu, Rain forests drenched in flames, Chattering machine-gun fire, Through all these times, Those early, swollen shapes Swim in my mind Like strange creatures risng from primal mists.

Jack :Reese

23


In Defense of Flag Burning In July the Supreme Court is expected to render a decision that will establish to what extent a state's government may limit certain forms of political protest. The Court's ruling will be in regard to the 1984 conviction of Gregory Lee Johnson, who was charged in Texas with "desecration of a venerated object," his crime being he burned an American flag at a public protest. Though the Texas state court threw out the case because of the vagueness of the law, which is stated as seeking to curb expression likely to cause "serious offense," the Supreme Court justices have agreed to review it. I feel it is safe to assume that an overwhelming majority of us as American citizens revere our national flag and frown upon, if not vituperatively denounce, the slightest deprecation of it. For most Americans the Stars and Stripes in flames is an appalling spectacle to consider; few scenes I can imagine would have greater power to provoke ordinarily peaceable citizens to violence. For those of us who recognize the unparalled degree of liberty enjoyed in our nation and the heavy toll in lives that has been required of us to preserve it, there seems little reason on the surface to tolerate this kind of display . We must be careful to recognize, however, the fatal human tendency to consult the heart before the head in matters of civic decorum.

24

In response to their collective recognition of human irrationality, our founding fathers agreed to impose a set of limitations upon themselves as well as the constituencies they represented. This was done in order to insure the nation against any future erosion of the "unalienable Rights ... of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" that were enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Our forefathers' wisdom was made manifest in the Constitution of the United States, the political canon we must follow in order to assure ourselves salvation from the tyranny of our own irrational hearts. It is with the chief aims of the Constitution in mind that we must resist the temptation to endorse laws like the one in Texas, whi forbid' 'desecration of a venerated object." Within any given state, widely divergent ideas can found concerning what objects are venerable and objects are not; when boIs having official s become inviolable by I real danger exists of jority imposing its minority in a could pot some of

however, tional gro responsib governme privilege gov ...'.,.~ AI!~A足 those ",rr__",'"


inherent danger of laws rendering it illegal to desecrate a venerated object. that in this ~1.'H";cial sanction popular manristian flag, , to th a IT was ru up the Capitol flagpole. Though the ulation of Alabama is overwhelmingly Christian, one could nevertheless ima vocal outcry from, Inn1路11rn Jews. Let's , that in of

ur of profrightening enou h d be the simple p sence at religious flag, taut flutter above the state's government, sym-

bolically blurring the separation of church and state and thus violating with impunity what is perhaps the most fundamental tenet of American government. The Supreme Court justices should understand, as should we all, that arty officially sanctioned symbol carries the power to establish a mood among citi~ens that tends to lead them to assume that the institutions and ideals represented therein have the force of law behind them. In view of this fact, it is our responsibility to insure that no symbol, no matter how universally cherished, acquires legal protection, lest we fall victim to the kind of banal pride that has throughout history - in the various European inquisitions, in Nazi Germany, in Fundamentalist Iran - deluded human beings into believing that the impassioned will of the majority has not only the of-

ficial sanction of the state, but the divine sanction of God. Michael Cartwright

'Erik Cesser

25


.,

.~~> ·i;;~

.~.:- ~. :". ' ~

. •'Ww. ~

26

Dangerous Dreams

'Beverly 'Brecht


Light Painting {]oJJ Plough

HORIZONS A haircut hits you when walking past yourself in polished windows, or when your hand wanders up to scratch your head in thought; you soon forget the itch to comb the stranger strands, strands where familiarity is cut short. You learn to explore crisp new endings where there is room to grow once more. ShecltlejorJ

Wh/~e

29


Life is a battleground. It always has been, and always will be; and if it were not so, existence would come to an e.n d. Carl Jung ~': ,

It is a go~d Marc? wind. that pJ~qws t.hi~ .nigh~,

I

~t~~~ ~ ~'\.':'~~?~~~~~: {.

strong, moamng, talkmg to Itselff"!lte wmd kt~ows ' •. ~,:. ::~":: things that I do not; yet it talKs to me, as well as to the :.,' land, telling me that eve~ though I am now twenty-nine '. " and somewhat sophisticated, ~llIs illusion, all is .selfdeception. I am no aiffei'e nt~frotn,when t was fourteen; only the time has changed' and is changing, ·chameleonlike, this night of wind,. waves an(f;whispers. I am troublea. I stand in the wind and it catches my hair. My wife lies pregnant in beq. Th~ ,e is something in the wind, something that I desperately ,want, yet at tlie same time a thing that chills my guts - a force of the vanished, yearning race that has tlie velvet feel of ancient, decayed colonades, shadows growing long at evening, the silent cry of wounded birds darting and ' tumbling blackly under a violent sky. The night and I are not one, but «ach like the other, waiting. . ' It moves (the br:eath of the planet), warm gulf aIr from the southwest, with 'it a time-shadowed moist promise (a horned god on some pagan altar, pernaps?) that I can almost taste even though I want to deny it. I stand outside a hundred feet above the lake and watch (sense) the wind come in between the ridges of the river channel, out over the lake, driving the black water "\ backward, even.!p-ough I den~ its influence, to~wind in August trees across a mountam creek. 1 rememoer then, \\~\ \ despite the pain, locked now into the denial like PtO\ \ metheus chained to the naked roSk, all my senses preter: ~ natural, recalling the moist dawn, fog, dripping \ hemlock trees. What was it Henry had said tome? We were in the hayloft in the dark barn above the cows and their warm breath, waiting, just before dawn. The best time for squirrels is to be beneath the beeclies and hemlocks cradling a cold blue gun, just before the first red eye of the sun, waiting, like one of Caesar's trusted betrayers. Henry had said, "Pretty soon, Jay, ya go across the creek and set and stand and wait." He spit. "You'll get one. I know it." At twenty-nine, outside a house that I do not own, tasting the wind, feeling the sourwood stick in my hand, the bark a carved spiral that I made years ago in those same mountains and took to the ocean with me and back again, I stand and wait. The staff knows something about the strange spiral of life that entwines all the planet. I grip it tight with both hands, almost in denial, swing it above my head (like Achilles, like Thor), and then - I am fourteen again, the mind denying

30

man's strange convention of time and a smooth, single shot Winchester 20 gauge (a Christmas present from my mother) rests in my hands. It does not have the feel of the spiraled sourwood staff; there is no love in this cold machine. It is dark blue with a good solid oak forearm and stock. Many times I have shot it at tossed tin cans and pieces of creek clay. It shoots well in a tight, powerful pattern. I tYE to Henry. He sits back comfortably in the Hay, che:wing l1e is twe ty, a product of welfare and ~a~e po~e!t,y.": ~7' ~ql.,~~t Jive t? tle-J~ir;y. ",' 'Ho)V many . Have'you "got Hus 'Yeali~ ,Henry,? ~~. ".' ~ .' He rolls over onto his stomacn, 'eyes the dim morningJight begjnningto lance through the holes in the rusted tin roof. "I don't know. Season don't open for , two more weeks, ya unnerstan. Forty, I guess,~ Maybe ' fifty." ~ "You eat them?" :. He spiJs again, chews slowly, lovingly. "Some of .... 'em. Not too many." ".... "What do you do with the ones you don't eat?" - "Give "em to the dogs, throw 'em away. Hell, what it matter - -th ey just squirrels. Woods better off without 'em." He eyes me shrewdly. "Y ain't chicken . ,are ya? Ya fourteen already and ain't killed nary a one. Some people say ya chicken." I grip the gun. "I ain't chicKen." "People say ya funn~ , Jay.1?on't fi~ Re~e. I neVer thought, ya unnerstan :.....- been fnends wIth ya a long time - but ya don't hunt. Why?' ~ . ~. '\' I shrug. "Never thought too much about it, I ~~~, \~ .:;. guess." , t \~~~l~ tI\~ t But the me now above the lake, in the wind, ' " I ~I'" without sadness or anger or any emotion (it's as though I have been emptied of feelings, like the half human Spck ) say: quietly, logically, across the years - Liar. Henry, looks out at the sky. He squints. '.' ¥eah ; r guess. Better go now. Wanta be ready. I told ya the best place to set, on the rid~e up under the hickorys. Might wanta check out the hemlocks and beeches, too." He claps'me on the shou~der. There is more than friendsh'ip in the motion. " t "Men hunt, Jay," he says. "Ya know that. Men ~!#' hunt and they fuck, too. Ever done that?" ;I" I grip the gun tighter. There is a reptilian chill, a I I snake that has been out of the st!n too long. , , ' 1/ "No," I answer. "Never." /" ~ He laughs at me. His mouth is-a slitted dark cave, a good place for snakes.. to burrow. i\ lot of te,eth are missing. A long stream of bJack spittle slides down his chin. "Ya will," he affirms. " Ya will .- i f YO!l're any kind of man, just the s_ame way tnat you gotta kill a squirrel. Go on now." I leave the barn and walk through the dew . Above me the mountain tears~ike the great hump oLa sounding whale, quiet, foreboding, dark and dripping. The shotgun, barrel down~ arcs tgrough the grass like an eager, sniffing hound. 1 walk toward the trees that line the fencerow. Johnson's schoolhouse is behind me. l"

1

J


RELGUN Everything' nd me; only the front is. the. front. We ~""'-...-- ~:~-"~ ~ like Henry's fam We keep our yard a9Jto·~l:r01ls~jif~~~~~~f,¥W

noton ~iiiS~

SChQ6JbDfj~~~IJ

by :Rnlph MonJay metal life brought it up in a smooth arc, swinging on the trees, searching, questing. My grandfather hasn't hunted in thirty years. He says there's no need to anymore. Where is the squirrel? There! A flying gray shape in th€ wet, green dawn ..The gun explodes and spins me f around. The squirrel keeps moving, frantic to . escape the the sound of no rain. er breaks, ejects the most of its' own accord the c shell and my hand snaps anothef'into place. I find . squirrel, fire, fall down. The squirrel drops, thud when it hits. A bass drum thrums my 11;~llble up and ~un to where it fell.

riving it sinks looks'at me from the

tien I stroke day I will I've squashed bugs two at the trash pile, but I've tou Henry has. He's went before to Bum Bum and BoBo's;" sneaked in the back door, gave them whiskey and "took what they offered. Maybe I'll go there soon, right after I get a squirrel. Maybe not. Even if I do, I won't brag about it the way Henry does. That's not decent. The wet swooshing sound of a squirrel leaping in the trees behind me brings me quivering to my feet. Fear takes my stomach. Of its own will the shotgun raises and slams my shoulder. t did not raise it. Its own cold

see, away from the shadow of and into my house. h(H:i~:.t~~:ul~~~.,.e myad grandfather's bed. oITletlhlnlg . et almost solid is in my shorts. I try to calm myself, talk to myself. It does no good: other things talk back to me, accuse, say betrayer, coward. There is sickness. I will never take a woman. Henry comes up, onto the porch. He yawns. "Well, did ya get one? I heard you shoot." My eyes glitter. "No, :; I answer. "The gun is no good. I'll never get one." And I will not go to Bum Bum and Bo Bo's. I will not be a whore, not after this. ~~.o..cl~ •• "",,~.,-,,-, . .. ,-,use

31


Once there were, there were not, a wife anJ a husbanJ hiking to :Ramsey'5 Palasades in the Great Smokey Mountains. On their way they saw a bear's poo poo heaped high on the path. ahey hurried up the mountain though they had loaded-down back packs. Jlt the heavenly waterfall they gorged themselves with moonshine anJ plenty cif snacks. ahe husbanJ said: .eet U~90 back the lonaer way. ahe bear may still be arounJ in the old stinking pla~e. Uhe wife said:, . rook, I am carrying a back pack on my shoulder. JlnJ a baby m my belly. So I II take my chances arw go back the shorter path. ahey trotted down the hill, each their own way. When the wlfo turned the benJ, she saw a big bear sitting in the middle oj the path. He grinned anJ said: GOd in his mercy has sent you just Jqr me. I have been to the doctor in Gatlinburg. It was a pain in the ass walting for hours on his crummy bench reading all those stale mapazines. 'But he said I need to eat }esh human brain to ,get over my stomach pam. ahanks for providing me with a fresh brain. Please af[ow me to tear your ears each. from each anJ to use your bones to pick m!:t teeth. , ahe wiJe jir!!.peed her pants, th~n jimkled Jambled anJ gave the poor, excuse oj belng pregnant. When that made no lmpresszon on the bear, she calmly sald: Mr. 'Bear, shut your box qf dominoes anJ listen for a change. You seem to be Southern born anJ Southern bred anJ quite well-read. Now stop me if you have read this one. Me anJ m~ husbanJ passed J~ur poo poo on our way ul! to the waterfall as you can tell by Jour shoe tracks. My husbarw is an 'Episcopalian. He reminJs me en that GOd is the head over man anJ man is the head over woman, and thus od has blessed man with a brain. Now use your own nOOdle. If I had any brain, o~o~ think I would have come back on the same path knowing Jull well that you would 'be sitting here waiting Jor us? ahe man wifh the brain is trotting back the longer way' on the south side oj the mountain. ahe bear . was gone like greased lightening. MO:R7lÂŁ: Jl little knowledge lS not a dangerous thinO.

~

Anand Malik


Untitled

J. Eintecume

33


BIRD SPLAT

lace-like milky-white leaf perfect in shape perfectly veined a gift in the night from some thoughtful bird the service station attendant asked if I'd like my windshield wiped I said no I'd rather not remove the painting some talented bird artist had so perfectly plopped I've never owned an original before Charity Chang

Untitled

:Robert Cathey


TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE the influence of female intuition and experience on modern art "By 'human malaise,' I mean . . . the maladaptive stance, chronically uncomfortable and at this point critically life-threatening, that humanity maintains toward itself and toward nature." -

Dorothy Dinnerstein

Art critic Fritjof Capra characterized in his book The Turning Point the current situation in Western society that has precipitated the ecological, social, and political malaise we are experiencing in this century. Referring to Eastern philosophy's concepts of yin and yang, which Capra described as "two archetypal poles ... underlying the fundamental rhythm of the universe," he commented, "It is easy to see that our society has consistently favored the yang over the yin - rational knowledge over intuitive wisdom , science over religion, competition over cooperation, exploitation of natural resources over conservation, and so on. This emphasis ... has led to a profound cultural imbalance, which lies at the very root of our current crisis." In The Aquarian Conspiracy , Marilyn Ferguson lamented the Western preference for deduction and rationality over induction and intuition, commenting, "We confine much of our conscious awareness to the very aspect of brain function that reduces things to their parts. And we sabotage our only strategy for finding meaning, because the left brain, in habitually cutting off conflict from the right, also cuts off its ability to see patterns and to see the whole." She wrote of a spiritual revolution, in which people are turning away from orthodox religions in search of alternatives in the form of meditation, biofeedback and Eastern religions. The theme of spirituality is addressed in depth by the artist

Wassily Kandinsky, who wrote of individual colors striking particular spiritual vibrations. He said of the spiritual power of art, "The life of the spirit may be graphically represented in a large acute-angled triangle, divided horizontally into unequal parts, with the narrowest segment uppermost. The lower the segment, the greater it is in breadth, depth, and area. The whole triangle moves slowly, almost invisibly, forward and upward. "There are artists in each segment of the triangle," Kandinsky wrote. "He who can see beyond the limits of his own segment is a prophet and helps the advance .... The larger the segment, the greater the number of people capable of understanding the artist. Every segment hungers, consciously or unconsciously, for adequate spiritual satisfactions." Because of its prophetic power, art is one of the most potent activities that can instigate changes in societal patterns. Art organizes the experiences of a culture into a cohesive vision of what is and what will be. Yet there is another reason why art is relevant to a discussion of the cultural revolution as described by Capra and Ferguson: Art-making and art appreciation are yincentered activities, peculiarly suited to the transformation of society into a cooperative, holistic unit. Philosopher Suzanne Langer elaborated on this theme in Problems of Art; she wrote, "Perception of artistic import. .. certainly seems to be a distillate of intuition, and the heroic fact of making logical form evident in a single presentation accounts for the fact that we feel rather than know it, conceive vital experience in terms of it, without completing any logical abstraction." Langer defined intuition as "the fundamental intellectual activity, which produces logical or semantical understanding. It com-

prises all acts of insight or recognition of formal properties, of relations of significance, and of abstraction and exemplification." She based her conclusion that art is intuitive on four premises, which state that (1) a picture is a single symbol of complex vital and emotive import; (2) there are no conventional meaningful units that compose that symbol; (3) artistic perception, therefore, always starts with an intuition of vital import, and increases by contemplation as the expressive articulations of the form become apparent; and (4) the import of tlfe art symbol cannot be paraphrased in discourse. David Best, art critic, substantiated Langer's assertion, saying, "Understanding the arts, in the sense of being able to engage in them, presupposes roots in nonrational feelings, responses, or attitudes. Understanding the arts, in the sense of being able to articulate artistic experience, presupposes, at least to some extent, understanding in the former sense." These statements are not intended to imply that artists do not think, for works of art are products of reflection. What is remarkable about the art of the past few decades, however, is that, despite the internal and external barriers to creativity that women so often experience, the female inspiration and influence are gradually being felt in the art world, first by artists male and female. In their book The Feminization of America, Barbara Myerhoff and Elinor Lenz commented on the potential impact of women artists on contemporary art, writing, "Women have an opportunity today to change the course of American cultural history. The conditions for bringing about such change have never been more favorable, and women, because of their cultural orientation hrough the ages, are particularly fitted to act as agents of

35


change." For the greater part of this century, the aesthetic climate has not been amenable to this vision. Critic Kay Larson has explained that still holding sway in 1970 was a "purist mode" described by Clement Greenberg in an essay written fifty years earlier, which stated, "In turning his sic attention away from the subject tp.atter -of common experience, the poet or artist turns it upon the medium of his own craft." The difficulty, Larson said, was that this "subject matter of common experience" was exactly what women had discovered they shared with one another; often it was the most meaningful aspect of their lives. This art-with outcontent requirement recreated the gap, familiar to all women, she said, between one's professional self and one's private, loving self. Being "professional" meant making it in a man's world - doing art that mimicked the deadpan, depersonalized aesthetics seemingly congenial to male artist - while reserving one's true self for one's private world. "Under these conditions women could never hope to be more than second best," Larson said. "When feminism set out to heal the breach between women's public and priVate selves, it also provided the means to cross the art gap." Whitney Chadwick, critic, wrote, "While the tp.en tended to treat a woman as an image or agent of inspiration in an art of disruptive hallucination and erotic violence, the women sought to articulate a specifically female consciousness by recourse to a more composed, narrative, often autobiographical art of sensibility. " The idea that women have exerted any influence on contemporary art that would render it more relevant to ordinary life is a controversial one, but many artists agree that the women's movement has made an impact on both male and female artists. Artist Joyce Kozloff said, "Many feminists believe that their new approaches to art have also influenced the work of male artists. It seems to me that the issues of autobiography, sexuality, and

36

decorativeness have become issues for men and women both over the last ten years." Artist Robert Zakanitch maintained, "The women's movement has really changed the climate. It makes the individual, as a man, stop playing roles, and indirectly that has to affect everything." Critic Jack Burnham wrote, "Possibly post-Formalist art gravitates towards certain feminine characteristics, 'and ... some of the -recent art also made 'by males is in some essentially social ways feminist. ' , Myerhoff and Lenz have characterized the modern art scene as changing -in fundamental ways. "Today, while women artists are still underexhibited," they wrote, "a museum goer can find quilts hanging on walls not far from those displaying offerings of the Old Masters, as well as exhibits of china painting, needlework, jewelry, costume design - genres that have never before been permitted within the sacred portals of art. "A few male artists are designing quilts," they wrote. "Food, childbirth, household tools, boxes, biomorphic shapes appear in paint on canvas, in stitchery on fabric; in theater, music, and dance, unrecognizable forms, sounds, new images explode with the force of bottled-up energy suddenly released. In the visual and performing arts, the long-supressed creativity of women is breaking through traditions and protocol that have governed the arts for centuries. ' , The works of many female artists support the thesis that women are changing art, and as examples a few of these outstanding artists should be noted: Georgia O'Keeffe, Helen Frankenthaler, Judy Chicago, Faith Ringgold, and Harmony Hammond. Georgia O'Keeffe contributed to the progress of art, and toward a greater humanity, through her depiction of nature in an intensely personal artistic language. In her paintings universal objective events become particular and subjective, indicative of internal, psychic events, and common, natural objects become monumental in her powerful, centralized compositions. The critic Lewis Mumford

said that O'Keeffe's original contribution was "the apprehension in her art of the objective fact as a means of projecting a more interior and less articulate world." O'Keeffe's painting also projects a spirituality representative not of a powerful male godhead, but of a natural world in which everyday objects are symbols of the divine. Her spirituality is different from a por-rrayal of nature as a world to be manipulated, or chaos upon which order is imposed by human beings who are separate and untouched by it; O'Keeffe's art is more a symbolic depiction of a "sacred center." Helen Frankenthaler's contribution to the cultural revolution consists of an approach that reaffirms the intuitive aspect of artmaking. Critic E. C. Goosen described Frankenthaler's 1964 painting Interior Landscape, writing, " ... The constrictions of symmetry anti geometrical definition are openly challenged. The result is a violent explosion breaking all the bounds - inner, outer and lateral. Even the carefully controlled edge of the ragged proscenium issuing from the core of the action and passed like hard-edged smoke around the inner, straight-edged rectangle is calculated to make the intensity of the struggle clear. " Goosen remarked that Frankenthaler exhibits a "persistence in avoiding purely rational solutions for the problems of art, even in the face of strong stylistic trends in that direction.' , Furthermore, Frankenthaler's -work is innovative by virtue of her introduction of the soak-stain method of color application, and as a result of her art's references to landscape. John Elderfield, critic, commented, "Frankenthaler's works of the 1950s clench memories of the observed world in shorthand form. They retrieve for painting an imagist force such as Abstract Expressionism had rarely allowed." Faith Ringgold, who faces the double difficulty of being black and a woman in the art world, has contributed to a shift toward nontraditi(;mal media with her quilted pieces, which consist of both paint and fabric. The emphasis of her work is largely narrative and autobiographical. eritic Thalia Gouma-Peterson described one of Ringgold's works,


Wake and Ressurection of the Bicentennial Negro (1973), writing, " [It] consists of four main figures of life-size路soft sculpture ... five masks that hang on the walls, and a number of subsidiary dance masks. The work tells a specific story. . . This was the first time that Ringgold incorporated a clearly and precisely articulated plotinto one of her pieces." " The two main characters are dead: Buba, a junkie, died of an . overdose of drugs, and his wife, Bena, died of grief," GoumaPeterson wrote. "They come back to life through the love of their family, and especially of their mother, and become reformed." Ringgold's piece 'Change: Faith Ringgold's Over 100 Pounds Weight Loss Story documents her struggle t{) control her weight and visually reiterates her autobiography, titled Being My Own Woman. Another female artist making significant progress toward rendering "craft" acceptable as fine art is Judy Chicago, whose ambitious creation Dinner Party makes use of needlework and china painting to make its statement. Originally conceived as "25 Women Who Were Eaten Ali.ve," Dinner Party took five years to complete with a large staff of volunteers. Chicago explained, "I arrived at the idea of an open triangular table, equilateral in structure, which would reflect the goal of feminism - an equalized world (also, the triangle was one of the earliest symbols of the feminine)." She said, "I chose 14-inch plates because everything was going to be slightly oversized, to emphasize that this was not a normal dinner party." Each plate visually represents a wel~-known or significant woman in history. The following describes Dinner Party in its final conception and presentation: Dinner Party consists of an open triangular table, 46 feet, six inches on each side. The table, which is covered with white linen cloths edged in gold, contains 39 place settings. Individually sculpted and china-painted plates represent women in Western civilization from prehistory to the present. Needlework runners employ historic textile techniques to symbolize the circumstances of each woman's life.

The table rests on a large triangular floor comprised of 2,300 hand-cast porcelain tiles. These are inscribed in gold luster with the names of 999 women of achievement grouped around the women represented at the table. Judy Chicago breathes new life into art by dealing with subjects heretofore considered taboo, such as the women's movement in Dinner Party, and childbirth in the work Birth Project. Chicago described her decision to embark on projects such as these as a turning point in her career, saying, "Everywhere I turned, I was confronted by the social and political implications of my gender: I subsequently stopped denying my femaleness and began, .instead, to confront and explore it." Harmony Hammond, whose art is strongly feminist in tone, is another artist whose work strives to break down the categories of craft and fine art. Critjc Lucy Lippard described Hammond's "floor pieces" as deliberately flaunting their "associations with the homely doormat, their source in despised function . .. forc[ing] the audience to confront the contradictions of 'correct' images and 'incorrect' materials. ' , Paul Stitelman, critic, has commented that crafts are seldom taken seriously as expressions of form and sensibility except in cultures .where they are the only items available for study; there they 路are often examined as anthropological curiosities rather than as expressions of sensibility. He said that Hammond seeks to redress this balance, by investing a large part of her creative imagination in works that might otherwise be thought of as handcrafted items. If one accepts the thesis that women artists have had an impact on contemporary art, then one implicitly accepts the premise that women's art is somehow different from men's art. However, the implication that a feminine aesthetic exists is not obvious to everyone. Yet Capra noted that the principles of yin and yang have traditionally been associated with the feminine and masculine, and contemporary scholar Charlene Spretnak wrote, "Neuropsychologists have demonstrated that females are predisposed from a very early age to perceive connectedness in life; in other words, females are more em-

pathetic, and they remain more aware of subtle contextual 'data' in interpersonal contacts throughout adulthood." Artist Judith Chiti made the comment, "If one is truly to define one's self, womanhood becomes, to a large extent, an open-ended. category. Whether there is ali intrinsic feminist or female art is seen as unanswerable - and ~ perhaps, as less important. " But as long as "masculine" is considered synonymous with' 'human" or "normal," the question of whether a feminine aesthetic exists is valid and important. Judy Chicago maintains that a distinctly female art does exist. She once remarked, "My investigation of women's art led me to the conclusion that much of the work of women. . .possesses a world view, a set of values, and a perception of reality that differs fundamentally from the dominant perspective of our culture." Lenz and Myerhoff wrote, "It is reasonable to speak of a distinctive sensibility, a style of life, set of values, as well as activities, relationships, and cognitive and emotional predilections that are present among women but absent when men and women are together, or when men are together." The modern trends exemplified in the artists discussed may signal a neW, holistic approach to our relationships with nature and with one another. Fritjof Capra made a positive prediction: "Today ... we are witnessing the beginning of a tremendous evolutionary movement. The turning point we are about to reach marks, among many other things, a reversal in the fluctuation between yin and yang. Our 1960s and 1970s have generated a whole series of philosophical, spiritual, and political movements that seem to go in the same direction. They all counteract the overemphasis on yang attitudes and values, and try to establish a balance between the masculine and feminine sides of hUman nature." Certainly, this stance is a healthier and more adaptive one.

'Debora Patterson ...1

37


CJhe front cover piece is a mixeJ-meJia painting by Kristen :ReynolJs. CJhe back cover piece is a mixeJ-meJia by Kimberly fles. ..1

Phoenix - Spring 1989  

The editorially independent student literary and arts magazine of the University of Tennessee.

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