by Marjorie Welish, James Siena
"With Oaths? Questions? the object is not so much a book as the functions of seeing and reading distributed back and forth across pages. From the outset the conception was that transparent pages interleaved text to be read as legible if unintelligible against the opaque pages of art—unintelligible, that is to say, until the reader turns the page in the course of
handling the book. To find that what was once graphic print is now poetry now to re-focus from seeing to reading; to read the poetry is to refocus from the obstructed construct of art seen through a verbal screen to language excavated or broadcast from the surrounds. The art that is my own, deriving from a painting done decades ago, now operates to deform its own grid; the poetry considers writing as repetition. But with James Siena as my cohort in visual/verbal mischief, the interplay in words and images, both by both, is decidedly enriched in the exchange with someone whose similarly tactical head-space differs from mine in its moves." - Marjorie Welish
"To summarize an Artist’s Book in a statement raises questions as to its very utility. But there were needs to be met in my first collaboration with Marjorie Welish, and they can be verbalized. So: no summary, just a run-down of issues and urges. Among them was the urgent desire to make something quite unlike a print, painting, or drawing. To make a Book in all its Bookness, sequential, teleological, inevitable. As well as strange, of course. To tell the story of a making of something, to undo it, page by page. So this book takes us apart and puts us back together again, none the worse for wear, but certainly not the same as before. And the words offer hints to the truth (oaths) and doubts about them as well (questions). Their very transparency evidences the debt they owe to the wordless visual." - James Siena
Oaths? Questions? was published by Granary Books in early 2009. Ruth Lingen in New York City printed the images on Somerset Book. The typographic layout, by Marjorie Welish and James Siena, was printed letterpress by Art Larson at Horton Tank Graphics in Hadley, MA. Oaths? Questions? was bound in printed cloth over boards. The binding structure was designed by Daniel E. Kelm and Kylin Lee at the Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton, MA and produced by Kylin Lee at the Blue Eyed Cicada Studio also in Easthampton. Steve Clay, Philip Gallo, and Judy Tobar provided additional assistance.
There are 50 copies in the edition of which 36 are for sale.