Friday, July 26, 2013

Abstract Retrievalism

Related to posts as early as this Note, plus more recent posts on visual poetry and cartoon art here & here; zimZalla avant objects have just released Matt Dalby's object 19.

Unless mistaken, zimZalla is first UK-based poetry imprint to release an object featuring abstract
panels worked as paginated sequence by using painterly fine art impasto techniques. Matt Dalby's object is designed in page units and mechanically reproduced with textual title: SHREWSBURY.

If "abstact comics" is cartoon art, it is not mainstream UK genre, nor part of the British & Irish small press 'indie' comic scene I wrote for The Making of Slow Fiction pdf (p. 24) a few years ago.  

Content and aesthetics, however, are as different as means of production, distribution, promotion and exchange share similarities. Much had changed since 1960s counter-cultural days of Jeff Nuttall’s pioneering Writers Forum poetry-c(art)oon hybrids.

Things, however, are blurring again. Andy Bleck, a European-based practitioner of abstract comics and featured in Fantagraphics' Abstract Comics made his micro-zine available at Camden's street market comics stall in 2009.

Genre differentiation in any arts formation can have the effect of diluting a difficult concept into taxonomy, marketable without too many tears. This may not be so easy with Fantagraphics' The Last Vispo,- a sophisticated combination of poetry, art, and poetics.

Dalby has thought carefully about these questions. He writes as contributor-critic of Philip Davenport's The Dark Would at his own blogspot - santiago's dead wasp - a post linked to The Last Vispo's News/Reviews.

Dalby's avant object 19 is transformed from hard copy artzine (making best possible use of digital print-on-demand facilities to bring lovely 3D texture to reproduction) without imprint or publishing ISBN/ISSN (cf Clarke and Freer's similarly produced AND #13) to a bookwork object realization through zimzalla's colophon serial byline on back cover.

The content of Matt Dalby's object appears to have precedence in mid-20c British non-representational painting, influenced by American Abstract Expressionism. This school was made of two fine art tendencies - abstract landscape and conceptual abstract. The latter art was defined by their titles, naming what the viewer unambiguously perceived. That is, coloured rectangles, circles, squares in  movement and tension. The former abstract art evoked feeling: for sea, sky, rock, land, trees, beach, hill, mountain, and place (sometimes described and sometimes named). 

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