Parabellum, an art installation by Kenny Cole that incorporates nine of my poems, has shown in two places now. First, at the University of Maine Museum of Art, and second on Governor’s Island in NYC, as part of the annual Art Fair:
To find out more about Parabellum, or P, you can go here (see also related links at the site):
I’ve written about Kenny and this collaboration with him on P a number of times on this blog. I’m not going to repeat all the approbations and analyses here. Today, I would like to share a most generous gift I received yesterday, one of Kenny’s paintings. He said he was giving it to me for my help on Parabellum. In fact, I deserve no special gift. He did all the work, incorporating my poems into his multi-layered gouaches. This is the sort of man he is, virtuous in a non-self-centered way. As his art tacitly proclaims, we all need to work together to overcome the war-mongering malaise that infects our globalized society. He lives this ethos, reaching out to others, and showing extraordinary empathy and kindness.
Below is an image of the gouache he sent me. The title is “Pray For Rain,” and it is from his I-95 series. This image doesn’t begin to do the real artwork justice. It is much bigger, vivid, textured, and so on. You can feel Kenny in the actual canvas:
This is a piece I have long admired, one of my favorites among the many Cole masterpieces. It says much through a vehement swarm of brushstrokes: Suicidal patriotism. Infernal materialism. Rabid politics. A frenetic tempo, one that drumbeats toward doom. The red-white-and-blue around a nuclear storm cloud. The tentacular limbs reminiscent of leviathan corruption. The slashing reference to drought, global warming and environmental curse. Cole offers us an impressionistic ardor of anguish. And a prophetic nod to Hieronymus Bosch. These, as I see it, are some of the broad overtures of the piece. I haven’t even begun to discuss the symbolisms in “Pray For Rain.” Staring at it, here in person, makes my eyes sting from many feelings.
Thank you, Kenny! Paint on! And write on! For, yes, you are a poet, too, of the most original and mesmeric kind.