Local Coloring: a book review

August 29, 2017

 

Our pals at Axle Contemporary present Local Coloring, a book-signing and artist-attended event this Sunday, August 27th at 1pm at the New Mexico Museum of Art. You'll be able to buy a copy of the book for a mere 15 USD. For that price, you get the works of five writers--Melody Sumner Carnahan, Jamie Figueroa, Joe Hayes, Lily Hoang, and Nasario García--with black-and-white Crayola-ready drawings by 67 New Mexico artists.  
 

On Sunday afternoon, authors will be reading their stories and other short pieces in the courtyard at the Museum. And Axle will have coloring pages from the book available, along with pens and crayons for you to use. All of the pages are on exhibit in the silver van/gallery, which will be parked on Palace Avenue in front of the museum. 

 

As trite as it may be, I was fascinated with "Dancing with a Star," by Joe Hayes. I say trite, because coyotes. I mean, c'mon, it's not the eighties anymore, right? But Hayes is such a consummate storyteller that his narrative hangs together seamlessly, as does the underlying moral: "At least Coyote tried to do the one thing his heart was longing to do." The coyote story is ripe for imagery, too, as are the other stories.

 

One possible exception is Melody Sumner Carnahan's "(BREATHE)," an impossibly rich poem in which the reader is exhorted by punctuation marks to breathe. In the telling of "Cupid's First Sight of Psyche," it seems that only glinting golden and tenebristic baroque paintings could do the imagery justice. [Update August 29th: After meeting artist Sienna Heinemann, I have to admit that she captured the feel of the visuals perfectly well, using a dense and highly symbolic vocabulary that conveys the layered depth of the writing.] Sumner Carnahan's words are glorious, though. I was enchanted by these lines:

     Cupid's face is full of doom ( ) and longing ( )

     he bends over her in bewilderment

 

Breathe? More like (SIGH). 

 

Support an artist or 72. See you on Sunday afternoon. ArtBeat Santa Fe will be conducting short interviews with the artists and authors.

 

Illustration by Rita Bard for "Johnny Blue," by Nasario Garcia

 

 

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