Monthly Archives: February 2015

Reimagining Landscape: Q&A with Photographer Vanessa Marsh

Bay Area artist and photographer Vanessa Marsh’s photographs, currently on display at San Francisco’s Dolby Chadwick Gallery till February 28, are dream-like in their blending of reality and fiction. The enigmatic quality of Marsh’s work is due in large part to her unique processes. Experimenting with several mediums, she is able to transcend realism through subtle manipulations of proportion, lighting, and perspective, without resorting to abstraction. In some photographs (several of which were featured in ZYZZYVA Issue No. 98), she uses models to create miniature scenes. In Man Chopping Wood (2011), for example, a stiff little figure on a lumpy …Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Struggling to Unseal All of the Words Unspoken: ‘Tell’ by Frances Itani

Exploring the emotional gaps created by grief and prolonged silence, Frances Itani’s new novel, Tell (Black Cat Press; 318 pages), is the story of a Canadian family coping with the fallout of the First World War. Picking up the thread from Itani’s 2003 novel, Deafening, Tell weaves an intricate narrative of two couples struggling with things left unsaid. The novel opens in 1921 before flashing back in time, with the bulk of the story occurring in the last two months of 1919. Tress and Kenan are a young couple trying to reconnect after Kenan’s return from the front; meanwhile, Am …Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Mythical American Hero on a Scavenging Quest: Q&A with Jenny Riffle

When I first met Jenny Riffle, she had already been photographing her boyfriend, Riley, for several years. Their one-bedroom apartment was intricately arranged with Riley’s findings: a large poster advertising Raleigh cigarettes, which he found behind the drywall in an abandoned building; old calcified revolvers and rusty shotgun bullets he collected while metal-detecting off of forest pathways; and cloudy bottles of various sizes, softened by years of sifting Brooklyn beach sand. Doll heads with cheeks too rosy and features dulled by wear leered from corners, and old clippings of cars hung tacked to the wall above their gold couch. There …Continue reading

Posted in Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mental Hospital’s Foreboding Power: ‘The Forgetting Place’ by John Burley

“Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a place of imprisonment, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation.” So opens John Burley’s The Forgetting Place (344 pages; HarperCollins), an atmospheric medical thriller with a fictional mental hospital as its core setting. Burley’s new novel follows resident psychiatrist Dr. Lise Shields, who is assigned a new patient, Jason Edwards, who has a mysterious past and an even more secretive admission. Much of the novel’s first half is spent on Dr. Shields’ attempts to coax the truth out of her reluctant patient and the hospital administration. Faced with a bureaucratic stonewall, Dr. …Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Astonishing and Everlasting Work: ‘Reformations: Dürer and the New Age of Print’ at USF

During the Renaissance, it may have been the Italians who mastered the painted canvas, but it was the Northern Europeans who mastered the print. Perhaps the best artist to come out of that period, Albrecht Dürer (1472-1528) sought to prove he could do with woodblocks and copper plates what any Italian painter boasted with his paintbrush. Perspective, proportion, and balance, Dürer achieved it all. In Reformations: Dürer and the New Age of Print, an exhibit running at the Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco till February 22, prints by the legendary print-maker are showcased along with some of …Continue reading

Posted in Art Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment