MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Collabs by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 1

Mail art by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

This summer we received two large packages of mail art from visual poet Jim Leftwich in Roanoke, the first of which (chronologically) we are documenting in this blog. The vast majority of the pieces are collaborations between Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow. (The exception is one very interesting asemic work at the end.) According to Facebook, Evan Damerow resides in New Zealand. His work was unknown to us before the arrival of this missive.

While Jim Leftwich seems to us inclined toward the prolific naturally, we attribute some of this outpouring of work this summer to the 2015 Marginal Arts Festival. The event seems to have been a great success and a perusal of the documentation will be rewarding to Tenderfoots, no doubt:

afterMAF 2015 Day 2 - 100_6459

The Anti-Brain Rot mail art call and exhibition also accompanied the festival, which occurred in July (2015). Here is some partial documentation of the entries via C. Mehrl Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA):

https://cmehrlbennett.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-anti-brain-rot-mailart-exhibit/

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 2

Unless otherwise indicated, all the pieces shown here are Jim Leftwich-Evan Damerow collabs.

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 3

These Leftwich-Damerow collabs hold specific interest to the trashpoets and D-Kulters in the network (many of whom are rabid followers of our humble blog), as Jim Leftwich is acknowledged as having created some of the earliest Trashpo (2005). These pieces (the current work shown here) use found material, have the organic structure so recognizable in most Trashpo and also show the anti-art stance and the On the Road spontaneity of Trashpo composition.

Trashpo is a form of visual poetry. (Many current practitioners are either unaware of or disregard this fact). The pieces documented here make abundant and innovative use of text, text-image associations and juxtapositions, cut up, disruption, asemics and other approaches that are related to poetry and the poetic as well as the tenets of Trashpo rather than mere collage. In short, they are excellent examples. The work transcends Trashpo in many ways yet still offers insights into Trashpo theory and practice for the working trashpoet.

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 4

Jim L. - 8.25.2015 - 5

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 6

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 7

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 8

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 10(A)

A bonus in the package was the piece below: “Spirit Writing” by Jim Leftwich (1997), a piece of historical significance because it was made so early in the context of the current thriving and burgeoning asemic movement. Jim Leftwich, however, and as many know, has reservations concerning the use of the term “asemic” and having his own work labeled as asemic writing. So we encourage Tenderfoots to consider the perspective of visual poetry here, although we believe the tide of history is very likely to identify Jim Leftwich as an asemic writer (among other designations):

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 9

A closer look:

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 10

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 11

Jim L - 8.25.2015 - 12

Many thanks to Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Posturban Wildlife at Night” by Joey Patrickt (Oakland, California, USA)

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 1

Mail art by Joey Patrickt (Oakland, California, USA)

Joey Patrickt sent us this highly conceptual, textual-visual work that raises questions about meaning and randomness, among other issues. Our approach is to see the various pieces posted here as a single, unified artwork. The puzzle stands at the center.

The pieces in the envelope reveal his keen sense of humor and irony as well as his ability to construct systems and structures. Initially, we appreciated Joey Patrickt’s ability to create self-contained, postcard-style pieces that have instant appeal in the network. But as this and other pieces we have received from him indicate, he has formidable talent as a conceptualist who can put together a compelling package.

The majority of the material is cut from old publications:

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 2

And the reverse:

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 3

Joey Patrickt references “POSTURBAN,” but this mail art conjures the postmodern. The work focuses on the process of weaving materials together into structures and designs. These objects can express meaning but also have both spiritual and utilitarian functions. Also included is a piece about floors:

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 4

Absurdity is working here, as is Joey Patrickt’s ongoing critique of consumer culture. Are vinyl floors and oriental carpets being purposely placed in relation to each other? The unaltered page has the quality of Trashpo mailings, which often contain this kind of unadorned found material. The purpose is ambiguous. and this piece of mail art retains ambiguity. The recipient can view such inclusions as finished art or use it in a new piece or simply pass it along. Here is the reverse side:

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 5

“POSTURBAN WILDLIFE AT NIGHT” is, in our estimation, an exceptionally done piece of mail art in the conceptual art strain. We can make the case that it is a thoughtfully constructed system intended to make a point about process and meaning. Yet a tension exists where the tropes that establish its meaning threaten to collapse into an envelope of nothing but old magazine clippings and a plastic puzzle. Many people must view it that way. And it is precisely the “shadow of doubt” that gives the work its true strength. We are compelled to consider what is and is not art. We are compelled to consider the relation of constructs to reality. We can glimpse – perhaps just for a moment – a place where art and life are a unified whole. Many thanks, again, to Joey Patrickt!.

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 6

Joey - 8.13.2015 - 7

MinXus Mail Bag: On Bad Poetry: Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands), Maria Morisot/Moan Lisa (Iowa City, Iowa, USA), Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Ruud - 8.7.2015 - 1

Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

This Richard Canardesque card we received from Ruud Janssen is very thought provoking in terms of some of the Eternal Networkers whose work we follow closely. Specifically, Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) has founded the Museum of Bad Mail Art (MOBMA), which is very popular and consistently attracts work. Moan Lisa is currently inhabiting the Maria Marisot identity (Iowa City, Iowa, USA). Moan-Maria has a particular genius for founding movements and issuing mail art calls that generate widespread interest and responses. One of them is Bad Poetry:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/853769131332573/

http://iuoma-network.ning.com/group/badpoetry

Ruud - 8.7.2015 - 2

We greatly appreciate more DKULTN and Trashpo stamps, and Trashpo is relevant to the current discussion. But back to the main topic: We have kept some distance from both the Bad Poetry and Bad Mail Art calls because we are perplexed about defining what is “good” and what is “bad” in the context of mail art, especially when anti-art and found art are factored in. We are not against Bad Poetry or MOBMA; we are just confused. Ruud Janssen’s card suggests to us that we are not the only ones trying to define “bad poetry.” Is it good bad poetry? Is it bad good poetry? We do not know. We do know we are pleased to receive a great deal of poetry from Moan-Maria. But is it good? Is it bad?

Maria - 8.7.2015 - 1

Mail art by Maria Morisot (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

Marian - 8.7.2015 - 2

Maria - 8.7.2015 - 3

Mail art (plasticized) by Moan Lisa-Maria Morisot (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

Maria - 8.7.2015 - 4

We can offer no insight in terms of helping to identify bad art or bad poetry. Perhaps the insinuation of the question is what is important. We will, however, conclude with the insights of Richard Canard that often address these issues:

Richard - 7.8.2015 - 1

Mail art by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Richard - 7.8.2015 - 2

Many thanks to Ruud Janssen, Maria Morisot, Moan Lisa and Richard Canard.

MinXus Mail Bag: Schwitterspo by Eric Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 1

Mail art by Erica Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

Erica Durante is an awesome correspondent, especially given her gargantuan responsibilities as President of DKult New Jersey (DKULTJER).

So far this summer she has sent us two pieces we are thrilled to share today. The first (above) is mounted on sturdy cardboard. Eric Durante has ventured squarely into the textual-visual realm (and makes an additional connection to music) with both pieces. There is certainly an emphasis on materiality.

Lately in Trashpo circles, there have been discussions about the influence of Kurt Schwitters. Indeed claims have been made Schwitters is the true “Godfather of Trashpo.” A certain faction of trashpoets see themselves aligned with and pledge allegiance to Schwitters, sometimes disavowing other historical connections. Discussions about the relation of Schwitters to Trashpo are not new. Some time ago we proposed the term “Schwitterspo” be adopted as a subset of Trashpo to accommodate this group of Kurt fans, although DKult can never be DKurt.

We are not suggesting Erica Durante is making a conscious homage to Kurt Schwitters and Schwitterspo in these pieces, yet artists frequently channel ideas that are “in the air.” This great mail art builds upon a rich avant tradition from the 20th century that owes a great deal to Schwitters. Erica Durante brings it into the 21st century and makes it uniquely her own.

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 2

An earlier piece received from Erica Durante uses her file card approach but also has the Schwitterspo tonality:

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 3

And the reverse:

Erica - 8.6.2015 - 4

Thanks as ever to Erica Durante.

MinXus Mail Bag: “Love is Blind” by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

BF - 7.29.2015 - 1

Mail art by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

We have received two fantastic mail art communications from the Blessed Father and his Church of the Right Now, which we have been slow to document due to a general piling up of material at the bottom of the mail bag and the slow summer months. So we extend our apologies to the Blessed Father and other Tenderfoots who, no doubt, daily await the appearance of their work upon our humble blog.

This first piece by the Blessed Father is a conventional-size postcard with some very unconventional material. Sometimes we wonder if our correspondence with this So Cal Holy Roller will result in a shared cell in the Big House. (Suggesting last year that we were “weed” farmers on a very loud envelope had us a bit skittish.)

We can always plead, protest and generally fall back upon the argument that what the Blessed Father is doing is “art.” We believe it is and have – in our West Coast Mail Artist Survey – identified him as an important contemporary figure. One of the Blessed Father’s special talents (in addition to finding excellent models) is stamp making. The reverse side of the card showcases his skill:

BF - 7.29.2015 - 2

Given the elements of the mail art genre, the persona of the Blessed Father is nearly as important as the art. The Blessed Father is an engaging – and enduring – character. His antics and the Church of Right Now provide numerous narratives that at their core satirize Evangelical Christianity and reveal the all too abundant hypocrisy attached to it. The Blessed Father’s “schtick” indeed seems timeless and (no pun intended) bottomless in terms of rich material. The Blessed Father joins the Church of the Subgenius and more recently DKult along with dozens of other lesser known ranters and temples that form the curious world of mail art religions and philosophies.

Confusion exists concerning the relationship of the Church of the Subgenius and Neoism since they both blossomed in the mail art network at roughly the same time. They were two separate entities on one level, no question. Yet they were also intertwined on a more practical level. For instance, Neoist tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE was named a saint in the Church and a number of his historic performances took place at Church-sponsored events. Thus, the “multiple user identity” concept as well as less noble and artistic scams to raise money involving fake religious groups and scholarship funds seamlessly passed from Neoism to the Church of the Subgenius. This strengthened the already strong tendency in mail art to invent imaginary people, places and organizations. The Blessed Father is a contemporary manifestation right down to his use of a costume.

In a second package, the Blessed Father kindly sent us a T-shirt and we have scanned the primary image on the front:

BF - 7.29.2015 - 3

The shirt is very high quality. The image, based on the date and subject matter, suggests some earlier iteration of the Blessed Father persona and narrative. R. Crumb comes to mind. The evolution of the Blessed Father from earlier, underground mail art (now very much a vestige of the past) is apparent in this amazing piece. The envelope is a stamp masterpiece:

BF - 7.29.2015 - 4

Note the nod to “Bob” Dobbs of the Church of the Subgenius. Here is a detail scan of a few of the stamps:

BF - 7.29.2015 - 5

Deepest thanks, as ever, to the Blessed Father.

 

MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Cut-up by Juan Lopez de Ael (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pais Vasco, Spain)

Juan - 7.29.2015 - 1

Mail art by Juan Lopez de Ael (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pais Vasco, Spain)

In the last year, we have become familiar with visual poetry by Juan Lopez de Ael and admire it very much. He is, in our estimation, a master of the cut-up. So we are absolutely thrilled to have received this postcard-size piece, which is an original composition, not a copy. Like many visual poets and text-centered artists, Juan Lopez de Ael is an active participant in the Eternal Network.

In the work of Juan Lopez, we see an affinity to William S. Burroughs’ cut-ups and thus earlier DaDa prototypes. But Juan Lopez de Ael also departs from Burroughs significantly. The work of Juan Lopez is less linear and more dependent on the concept of defamiliarization. We see strong affinities to concrete poetry and those poets who focus on the materiality of language. Juan Lopez uses much material that comes from the mass media, and his work can be viewed as an interrogation of this public discourse and its visual manipulations (fonts in particular).

One should not overlook the recombinant and transformative nature of visual poetry by Juan Lopez de Ael. These literal deconstructions result in explorations of alternative syntax, the non-linear and the creation of whole new symbols. The result is more than base distortion. In the context of the current interest in asemic writing, the work of Juan Lopez de Ael deserves consideration.

Juan - 7.29.2015 - 2

Deepest thanks to Juan Lopez de Ael for being so thoughtful and sending an original work!

MinXus Mail Bag: DKult Doodle Therapy TLP #5 by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 1

Mail art by Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK)

Our faithful correspondent Rebecca Guyver sent us the fifth Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) in her stunning DKult Doodle Therapy series. This new installment is as innovative and entertaining as the previous editions we have received. The DKult Doodle Therapy concept is inherently collaborative. While Rebecca Guyver is unquestionably the guiding force behind these soon-to-be historic TLPs (we’re sure), many other artists have contributed doodles. Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) and Figgy Guyver are given credit for contributing to TLP#5; we gather there are others as well. Rebecca Guyver is also a wonderful correspondent in terms of sending us generous envelopes stuffed with both art and news. These opening scans are of a card that accompanied TLP#5. Here is the reverse side:

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 2

Without further digression, we are very pleased to now present you – dearest Tenderfoots – with complete documentation of DKult Doodle Therapy TLP#5:

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 3

Cover of DKult Doodle Therapy TLP#5 by Rebecca Guyver with additional contributions by Diane Keys, Figgy Guyver and others.

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 4

(Click to enlarge)

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 5

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 6

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 7

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 8

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 9

Detail from Dkult Doodle Therapy TLP#5

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 10

Back cover Dkult Doodle Therapy#5

A wonderful production! Rebecca Guyver also included a wonderful example of her plasticized, sewn work.

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 11

And the envelope:

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 12

And the reverse:

Rebecca - 7.21.2015 - 14

As ever, thanks to Rebecca Guyver!

Previous Older Entries