Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Carla Lobmier
by Janina Darling

Check out the work by Carla Lobmier

Artist Carla Lobmier debuts a series of works in watercolor on vellum that are metaphorical responses to travel, landscape, and light. The paintings are pairs of vertical scrolls, a format influenced by Japanese tradition, as is the use of the hake brush that records the kinetic calligraphic quality of line and allows seemingly infinite manipulations of color quality. Working with pairs, Lobmier records her perception of relationships. These can be between aspects of the natural landscape or between objects she finds fascinating for their shape, color, potentially expressive qualities, or iconography.

The paintings respond to a formal challenge that has occupied Lobmier throughout her career as a working artist: the reconciliation of the 16th Century theoretical antithesis between disegno and colore — that is, drawing and the painterly application of color — as a unified act of expression. The combination of graphite and watercolor in the scrolls offers a new direction in this formal element of her work. Controlled lines and/or representational motifs drawn on top of painted passages introduce movement and counter-movement while expanding the range of iconographical references. These often appear as mysterious phantom images that solicit the viewer's thought and imagination.

There are surprises in these works. Since each scroll is made of two layers of rather transparent vellum, forms and colors are revealed, concealed, or act upon one another to create color changes and atmospheric effects. Grids of hundreds of small colored dots, primarily on the second layer of vellum, capture light and shadow and stabilize the compositional units. And finally, the watercolor medium itself is manipulated to create a variety of visual experiences from the faintest washes to impastos and even to precise representational details. The paint quality is different from the multi-layered surfaces of Lobmier's acrylic paintings and it affords the manipulation of a specific type of light that is subtle and atmospheric.

Light and color are strongly influenced by Lobmier's two visits to Holland. She was struck by the landscape there, especially its similarity to the rivers and flatland of her native American Middle West. Her palette for the Dutch paintings is dominated by yellow and blue, colors favored by Dutch artists of the 17th Century. Dutch cartography and the lay of the land generated imagery, but it was the experience of the atmosphere and the unique light of Holland with its low skies and water-inflected quality that most strongly coincided with Lobmier's work. Light and transparency have always been key elements in her paintings, and vellum and Dutch light afforded new possibilities.

Objects found serendipitously in her environment, either in recognizable form or reworked into abstractions to assume new meanings, have been a significant aspect of Lobmier's iconographic vocabulary and personal expression. This continues to be a feature in the vellum scrolls as does her fascination with the conceptual category inside / outside. The juxtaposition of two scrolls enables Lobmier to set up comparisons or contrasts that challenge the viewer to enter into a dialogue with the artist through her metaphorical commentaries on the real world.

The movement of water through different types of landscape is a theme that Lobmier explores two times in one pair of scrolls. The River (Jasper County) references her perception of the similarity between a Dutch river and a Middle Western one as both travel through expanses of flat land. Subsumed into a single image, the moving river(s) is (are) a trope that can be interpreted as an allegory on travel in general or as a comment on the surprising familiarity of distant places that plays on the ideas of "home" and "not home."

A burst of movement and brilliant colors dominate Waterfall: Manitoga Path, that is all about descending water, sunlight, and an oak forest. The water here moves in great green and blue vertically aligned curves in one scroll while in the other vigorous arcs of yellow, orange, and red represent the light. Grids of dots throughout the scrolls suggest highlights and bits of shadow. The oak forest at first seems invisible until one looks closely and discovers acorns drawn in graphite on the left scroll.

The Quickening Maze is a hymn to spring and the bursting forth of plant life from the ground. From the roots with their stored energy represented by bravura brushwork and control of color intensity, new shoots struggle upward. The imbricated green stalk references plants that have completed this journey and have emerged from the earth to meet the sun. Their quickening is revealed by graphite drawings of flowers that have burst into bloom.

How to Meet the Light (Zutphen) is about being inside a Dutch studio and looking outside onto the raking terracotta clad roofs of surrounding old buildings. These provide the impetus for the diagonal arrangement of large blue discs seen through the unpainted upper layer of vellum that functions simultaneously as a window pane and the picture plane. Florals from a Delft china pitcher and an abstracted pair of chandeliers from the studio incorporated into the composition give a sense of place inside. Lobmier uses predominantly blue and yellow in this pair of scrolls to recall the Dutch master painter Vermeer.

Travel, landscape, and light, enriched by references to art history and to objects she finds interesting in her environment comprise the themes and formal elements that Lobmier exploits in her richly metaphoric watercolors on vellum scrolls. She invites us to follow her into her world of elusive symbols and shifting meanings and to find a place for ourselves there.

Art historian Janina Darling and painter Carla Lobmier met as professor and student at Eastern Illinois University. Dr. Darling is a classicist who specializes in Roman art and has Italian baroque as a secondary field. Under the spell of her lectures, Carla was inspired to add art history as a second major to the B.A. in painting and drawing she completed at Eastern. What do Janina and Carla share? The excitement of art viewing, but also a passion for analyzing art to reach a deep understanding of its structure and meaning.

Janina lives on the West coast and is now retired after many years of teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently at work co-authoring a book on commemorative columns that will be completed this year.

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