Curated by Norma Cole
"The use of color in my paintings is of paramount importance to me. Through color I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man's inhumanity to man."
- Alma Thomas
Agnes Martin, about how to look at her paintings: she recommended doing the same as when we look at the ocean: "You just go there and sit and look."
by Norma Cole
Iris beckons. Iris is messenger of the gods, personification of the rainbow. In the earlier
poets, Iris appears as a virgin goddess, but later she's the wife of Zephyrus, the west wind,
and, according to some accounts, the mother of Eros. She's dressed in a long tunic, over
which hangs a light upper garment, with wings attached to her shoulders, carrying the
herald's staff in her left hand. She touches both heaven and earth, high-key palette, low-
key palette, bold stroke whether line or shape.
"Therefore, O painter, do not surround your body with lines." Leonardo da Vinci
The object equals the event, the experiment, the experience. The shapes of love and
of experience, which is suffering. Experiment used to mean "to have experience of; to
experience; to feel, suffer," as in "Suffer the little children to come unto me," or Breaking
up the comic book, the story (picture) or none.
"the boundary of a body is neither a part of the enclosed body nor a part of the
surrounding atmosphere." Jasper Johns
The compositional puzzle, edges of lines without lines, comic foot, flip the camouflage-
compassionate brushwork, masterful, humble, that is, proud exuberance. Brooding
vocabulary of richness overlays uncommon commonness. Shape of flesh suddenly
becomes orange jump suit. Burnt orange, blue-green, lilac, milky undercoat, or overcoat.
Shades of sharpness, robust, assured, free and bold. The light is ever rock-steady.
"Learn with the body." Yuasa Yasuo
Early July, near Parma, Marina and I were looking at the night sky, contemplating Venus.
We could see what's seen "from the west coast," "from the east coast," from somewhere
else now, in the window, out the window, through the window, within a squared-off
window. In pieces, the shapes could be landscape or body, rolling shoulder, rock, hillock.
Strokes breaking through. "Opposites attract." "Personal = political." "No beginning, no
end." In pieces of paint, in dhyana, in meditation, the hillside acid during the hot temper of
And now we behold the silver painted flesh of Venus. Serene. Joy. Soft power. Healed?
Marina Adams received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA and MFA from Columbia University's School of the Arts, New York, NY. Adams has lived extensively in Europe and had a one-person exhibition at Magazzino d'Arte Moderna in Rome, Italy. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions in the United States and Italy, including Roebling Hall, Brooklyn, NY; Exit Art, New York, NY; Art in General, New York, NY; Arte Architectura Moderna, Rome, Italy and Sala Uno Galleria, Rome, Italy. In 2007, she co-curated and participated in the group show, Sex in the City, D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and has taught at Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Cornell University, Rome, Italy and Pratt Institute of Art, Brooklyn, NY. She has collaborated with the poet Norma Cole on the recent publication In Our Own Backyard and has a collaborative book with the poet Leslie Scalapino titled The Tango (Granary Books, 2001).
Norma Cole is a poet, painter and translator. She received her M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Toronto, Canada and for twenty years her work has received great acclaim for its openness to radically divergent traditions and practices. Robert Creeley has written about her work, "Through all the frames of our various rhetorics, Norma Cole makes actual the powers of thinking...." Among her books of poetry are Do the Monkey (Zasterle Press, 2006), Spinoza in Her Youth (Omnidawn Publishing, 2002), Moira (O Books, 1996), and Contrafact (Potes and Poets Pr, 1996). Her letterpress volume Collective Memory (Granary Books, 2006) originated in the context of the installation work by that name, created by Cole at the California Historical Society in San Francisco, CA in 2005. New from Libellum Press is NATURAL LIGHT. From City Lights Books, Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988-2008 will appear in April 2009. Her recent translation work includes Danielle Collobert's Journals (Aufgabe, 2003), Fouad Gabriel Naffah's The Spirit God and the Properties of Nitrogen (Post-Apollo Press, 2004) and Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (Burning Deck, 2000). She teaches at the University of San Francisco, CA and has been named Regents' Lecturer at University of California, Berkeley for Fall 2008. Cole has been the recipient of a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award, multiple Gertrude Stein Awards and awards from the Fund for Poetry and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. A Canadian by birth, Cole migrated via France to San Francisco where she has lived since 1977. She has had a lively exchange about "the work"- and created collaborations- with Marina Adams for more than 20 years.