Saturday, November 7, 2009

On the summit that exhilarates sick beloved engines

The Sydney Highrise Variations by Les Murray begins from the perspective of a motorist whose car has died atop a bridge, and as a poem that pointedly addresses the mentality of the 20th century, it is appropriately an automotive poem (and a poem of planes and spaceships).

Two artists contributing to our Sydney Highrise Variations Art Invitational have taken on this automotive imagery head-on. This is Greg Edmondson's piece, "Sick beloved engine", a modified Pinewood Derby car.

Greg's piece is unique among this year's contributions for being a commission. We were yukking it up at The Tap Room one night when he said he was making a Pinewood Derby car for the Pierogi show in Brooklyn.

Greg has shown all over the world, and got stuck in something of a backwaters art market as a parent with a child here. He is none too enthusiastic about showing in St. Louis, but I figured I could get him to make another Pinewood Derby car for our Invitational. And I was right!

The poem begins, "So we're sitting over our sick beloved engine," and we hang art in our shows depending on where in the flow of the poem the quote chosen for the title of the art appears. No one made art for the show titled "So we're sitting," so Greg's "Sick beloved engine" will be the first piece in the show. This piece will be the second: “On the summit that exhilarates cars” by Andrew Torch.

Andy is taking a quite literal approach to the opening images of the poem, since the "sick beloved engine" is stalled atop a bridge over Sydney Harbour and he has depicted the harbour-side Sydney Opera House.

Torch is a card-carrying Surrealist, and he has done magnificent Surrealist paintings for past Poetry Scores Art Invitationals. So it is quite a departure for him to depict such a literal scene. Of course, the architecture of the Opera House (by the late Jorn Utzon) has a Surrealist tinge, so this is in some sense a realist take on a scene with Surrealist elements. Andy might not have to tender his card.

Andy also is an antque toy merchant, and we can see his dayjob making a cameo in this marvelous piece, which he inscribed "For Les," for the poet. I intend to seek permission from the Poetry Scores board to bid on this with house money at the silent auction, and buy the box as a gift for the poet.

What is this chiseller doing in here?

It so happens my daughter Leyla Fern was playing art director to her daddy, instructing me how to carve a wardrobe box into a convertible for jer while we putative grownups had our heads under the hoods of our own imaginary cars ...

I hope Leyla will attend the Invitational on Friday, Nov. 13 at The Luminary (4900 Reber Pl. at Kingshighway, just across the street from Tower Grove Park); and if so, perhaps we'll bring her car and some markers, to give her something to do with all the inspiration she will be absorbing.

No comments: