Granary Books, 2004. Item #GB_124
7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in., 116 pp., smyth-sewn in wrappers.
“Bob Perelman’s poems read Francie Shaw’s paintings to reveal the persistence and absurdity of desire, its compact dangers...These poems are somehow both pithy and mysterious, merciless and subtle—as are the paintings.”
“Exploring the space where terror and comfort, pleasure and pain are overlaid, I have done a series of 52 paintings using three small figures, two per painting, in various provocative and ambiguous poses. The figures are familiar toys: a bendable person (either a male or a female) and a plastic dinosaur. The paintings are done in a light style similar to ink brush drawings, in blue paint on high gloss white, reminiscent of Delft tiles. The paintings are metaphorical in that each gesture or pose suggests an often contradictory variety of emotional meanings. The relationship displayed can be read as between two figures or between different parts of oneself. At the same time they are clearly paintings of toys. The 52 paintings as a whole do not form any narrative progression; instead, each painting poses a variation of some basic questions: is this play or struggle, or both at once, who is carrying whom, who is in control?”
Playing Bodies is a work in poetry and paintings by Bob Perelman and Francie Shaw. This work is, at once, a deeply specific, personal account and an undesignated construction which provides the perfect space on which to project our own ideas of self. The series of 52 paintings by Shaw and 52 poems by Perelman reflect an intensely united collaboration. Playing Bodies is a conversation between poet and painter, artists and readers, which rewards in a more profound way than simple repartee. There is a plaintive depth below the surface of clean intelligence and that pitch of feeling is what makes this a complex investigation. This artists’ book features an introduction by Susan Stewart. Out-of-print.
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