Two nice things: witches like saints & harvesting the moon.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.00.22 PM1. Isabel Allende is one of my all-time favorite authors. House of Spirits has always felt like a more feminine version of my favorite book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I know my love for magical realism has always made me seem a little immature—espeically compared with the “serious” literature majors I knew in college, who preferred texts that felt impenetrable to me, walls of text made by dead white men with axes to grind and bones to pick. But goddamn it, I like what I like, and what I like is crazy, New Agey, magical shit. Stories where cats walk on two legs and newts have sexy, sophisticated romances and snowy sculptures come to life.

But enough with my dumb, pretentious, self-critical rambling. Allende is wonderful and everyone should read her. She makes femininity feel like such a powerful thing—witchy and earthy and crude and delightful and free. I love how she writes women. Her female characters are round, and I mean that both in the literary sense and the curvy sense. I’m currently reading her memoir Paula, and it really makes me appreciate the power of female companions, friends, lovers, daughters, etc. Here’s one of the best quotes:

Witches, like saints, are solitary stars that shine with a light of their own; they depend on nothing and no one, which is why they have no fear and plunge blindly into the abyss with the assurance that instead of crashing to earth, they will fly back out. They can change into birds and see the world from above, or worms to see it from within, they can inhabit other dimensions and travel to other galaxies, they are navigators on an infinite ocean of consciousness and cognition.

Damn, girl. That makes me want to be a witch, like, yesterday.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.21.42 PM.png2. The second person I’m vibing on today is Bruce Monroe. He is a Pennsylvania-based artist who makes striking installations. The top image is “Moon Harvest,” a visual pun that projects images of the moon onto bales of hay. “Shower of Light” is the second image (directly above). He also uses CDs frequently in his installations, which, when placed together, turn into giant reflective surfaces that look like oversized sequins, glittery and fractured. Check out his other work (and find out where you can see one of his luminous pieces in person!) by clicking here. 

Advertisements

Two scary things, in honor of the holiday.

Kate MccGwire Secretions Art Instillation
1. From Shirley Jackson, a true master of horror writing and vastly underrated writer, the best way to begin a book:

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

If you don’t have chills after reading that, go ahead and read the whole book. I’ll wait here. (Shirley Jackson is my all-time favorite author. I wrote my college thesis on her—and Poe and Toni Morrison. It was about ghosts in American literature… I was/am/will always be a nerd.) Kate MccGwire art installation of feathers

2. British sculptor Kate MccGwire makes wonderfully nasty and strangely beautiful art installations out of feathers. They’re textural and rich and oh-so-creepy. Plus, they all have fantastically horrifying names, like Secrete (top), Siren (second image) and Slick (below). Some of her other installation names include Purge, Gyre, Corvid and Specter. I love how her pieces feel both organic and naturally occurring, and utterly uncanny in the most Freudian sense. They’re a double gut-punch of pretty and creepy. See more here. Slick,+2010,+Kate+MccGwireHappy Halloween! 

Turning paper into water.

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 8.41.09 PM
Paper is amazing. It’s an amazing material. Think about it. Until we had screens, we needed paper to transmit our information. It is the surface on which people write great novels, scribble sappy love notes, paint touristy scenes, and jot down ever-vague notes-to-self (I am particularly guilty of this last one). Paper is also one of my favorite materials when it comes to creating art. Cut paper pieces are simply gorgeous, and the shapes that can be made from plain cardstock never cease to blow my mind. I could write an ode to paper—a careless person might say that I am, right now, composing an ode to paper, but nope, it’s not a poem so it’s not an ode, okay?—but I think it’s better to just show you what can be done.

This is what Yuko Takada Keller does with cut paper. She takes these little shreds and turns them into flowing water, cascading light. In her installations, paper denies the laws of physics and takes on any form it pleases (air, water, even fire). The many little pieces work to form something greater, something that breathes motion and mutability.

And, thanks to her eye for color, they’re also just so peaceful to look at. Light greens and clear blues. In an artist statement, she said “I hoped my works would remind the viewer of something pure and natural in this world,” and oh, it does.
Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 8.42.15 PMScreen shot 2013-04-23 at 8.41.35 PM
More here. Found via Pinterest.