Saturday, November 6, 2021

Stretched Language: Bonita Museum obeys Rule 42

By Patricia Frischer

Catalog cover by Alexander Kohnke

Rule 42: Stretched Language is an exploration into Visual, Concrete and Mathematical Poetry which runs from November 6 – December 3, 2021 at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center. This exhibition of evocative, visual expressions curated by Vallo Riberto explores our human language as a method for examining the world. Yes, it stretches language and challenges the viewer.

Visual/Concrete and Mathematical Poetry is art that uses text such as icon-graphics, composed or designed to be read and seen for the complete experience. The individual poet or artist blurs boundaries, for example fusing visual poetry (with its many sub types such as concrete poetry, ideogram and calligram and mathematical visual poetry) and word painting, abstract calligraphy, mathematical poetry and abstract writing. 

The catalog for this show designed by one of the artists, Alexander Kohnke, is not only a guide to the show but presents a history of these genres and some essays by its proponents. Why Rule 42? If you are confused, you could be said to be at sixes and sevens. 6 X 7 = 42. If you remember your Louis Carroll's Alice and Wonderland, rule 42 was that 'All persons more than a mile high must leave the court." Drink from the bottle, grow larger and be prepared to stretch your imagination and take a fresh look at the art of words. 

Alex Caldiero, Alexander Kohnke, Allison Wiese, Avital Oehler,
David Quattrociocchi, Db Foster, Douglas Mcculloh, Gustavo Mayoral,
Harry Polkinhorn, John Dillemuth, John Halaka, Karl Kempton,
Kazmier Maslanka, Kristine Dikeman with Lisa Mansfield & Liz Waugh,
Paul Gailiunas, Toru Nakatani, Trinh Mai.
Spoken word performances by Alex Caldiero, Gerda Govine and Rosa Sandoval on Nov 6 from 4:30 to 7:30

 I visited the show before it was fully hung and  please excuse the quality of my photographs. Thanks to Lonnie Burstein Hewitt for her additional images. There is much, much more to explore in this exhibition than the small taste below so allow plenty of time.

Kazmier Maslanka, with the curator Vallo Roberto and our partners spent one wonderful day and night discussing this show and coming up with the tag line of stretched language. With my years of working with Kaz on the DNA of Creativity for his team's effort  PAMM - PolyAesthetic Mapping: The Muses, I have become familiar with Mathematical Poetry and the niche these works inhabits. So I am going to take a bit of time to explain some of this art as they grow so much in meaning with his guidance. The work is wonderful, but the work with Kaz standing next to you is divine. I encourage you to attend  Similar Triangle Poems Workshop Sat. Nov.13 by Kaz Maslanka who will introduce a system for creating mathematical poetry where participants can create their own math based poetry.

Kazmier Maslanka - This is one of the latest works he created during the the upsetting times of the pandemic. Kaz makes word mathematical formulas.  The non attached soul is to a A Jury of 13 acute anxieties in a shouting match, what  my corporal body is to a dark cloud of 13 vultures circling the corpse that my soul drags. When you read these words, you have to create a picture in your mind.  This is followed by the words for 11+ 2 and 12 + 1. Both numbers equal 13. Then look hard at the circles in the image. There are 13 and each is connected to the same letter because the phrases eleven plus two and twelve plus one have exactly the same letters. The skeleton, the vulture and the monkey brain references are all there. 

Kazmier Maslanka - I shall leave this one for you to ponder, or,please, go the show where there is a QR code next to each work for a deeper dive. 

Kazmier Maslanka - This older work is about a hermaphrodite whose mother made the decision for the male organs to be removed. Latter in life this "women" decided she was a man. When close to the work, it dissolves with no identity, but as you step back you can see a figure with glasses. Try squinting your eyes. The loss soul is to being on an ocean raft, as Cosmic noise is to Time Square. 

Kazmier Maslanka - In this wall of works, the speed of a shape is noted to increase or decrease depending on its shape and direction. Once you notice that,  formulas can be created to describe this effect. 
Kazmier Maslanka

Kazmier Maslanka - Don't miss the computer and the printer at the end of his darkened corridor of illuminated works. This is a work that answers the age old question about how time goes faster the older we get. At the time of your birth you were going at the speed of light compared to your mother age (according to Einstein theory of relativity). A formula can be devised that tells you your relative speed today compared to your mom's speed today. Extrapolated to the nth degree this becomes almost infinity. if you enter your birth date and that of your mother, you can get a print out of this exact difference in the relative speed of life going by between any two birth dates. 

Daniel Foster is known to many of us for his time at the San Diego Art Institute more than 20 years ago, his stint running the Oceanside Museum of Art, Riverside Museum and Riverside Foundation. But db Foster is the artist hermit that lies within. He has almost 40 years of work that he shows very rarely and never sells. Much of this work consist of a trunkful of journals where language, words, paragraph, graphics are used to record an inner life. Some of his other work is conceptual, some abstract but it only has a life when it is contextualized. 

db Foster - using children's letter to form temporary word poems in the sand. Photo by Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

db Foster

db Foster

When I saw this wall of work by Karl Kempton, I had no idea that these images were originally only in book form. Vallo Riberto, as curator, actually took the images and made 3-d works. This make the art come alive in a way far beyond the usual curatorial duties. 

Karl Kempton - visual poems stamped in color tin.

Karl Kempton -  a work enhance with color and cut out shown with the book image. Photo by Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Karl Kempton - a work transformed into an embroidery mini tapestry.

Vallo Roberto -  curator with the work of Karl Kempton

Kristine Dikeman collaborated with Lisa Mansfield and Liz Waugh after a workshop she gave on zoom to a much wider audience than normal. One lady from the UK, one from Australia with Kristine constructed three books with conductive wires that broadcast stories. The great North Sea Floods from 1953, 100 years from then 2053 when the fires are still raging in California and 2153 when Australia becomes a frozen wasteland give us past, near present and possible future.  

Kristine Dikeman

Kristine Dikeman.  Photo by Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

John Dillemuth gives us Tickle My Fancy, Pray Please, Scram and You Take the Cake where the shadows are as important as the words.

John Dillemuth 

John Halaka - within each circle floats the names of so many Palestinian refugees and farmers. He considers himself as a public servant. 

Alex Caldiero a performance artist who I know has recited Allen Ginsberg poem The Howl. I saw that in person read by Ginsberg more than 50 years ago and would love to hear it again. 

 Alexander Kohnke - a series of braille images which are the dark dots that spell out "florescent black" but since they are under glass, they can't be felt. Alexander Kohnke was a San Diego Art Prize recipient in 2017

Douglas McCulloh - a 200 foot role of paper which names every single battle in history 

Douglas McCulloh - Vallo Riberto showing us the very first entry 2400 BC 
Harry Pokinhorn - In the late 1970s and early 1980s he co-founded Atticus Press and co-edited Atticus Review. He is a psychoanalyst, professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, and director of SDSU Press. I found it interesting that he studied Walter Iten color theory and that might explain the confident use of color in his work. 

Gerda Govine - who doesn't Weave Together Pain Pain and and and but only Gerda makes JOY

Toru Nakatani - The signifiers and the signified, just the faintest pencil in the word bubbles for this Japanese artist interested in concrete poetry. 

Avital Oehler is represented by this brilliantly installed video, another  curatorial decision that  transforms the Bonita Museum into a space fully reaching its potential. As you can hear in the video, this is a visual documentation of the series of blood test over a period of time when the artist discovered she had an autoimmune disease. 

Gerda Govine read this poem Hands privately in Cardiff by the Sea, but as part of the Rule 42 Stretched Language exhibition curated by Vallo Riberto at the Bonita Museum.

Some wonderful installation views sent by Kaz Maslanka

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