VERVE Gallery of Photography is pleased to present Nocturnes, an exhibition from the elaborately designed book, which harmonizes a series of stunning black-and-white photographs by VERVE Gallery artist Josephine Sacabo with a series of eloquent poems by her husband, Dalt Wonk.
The book consists of Dalt Wonk’s poems printed on vellum, serving as a portal to the related, mysterious photographs of Josephine Sacabo. All of Josephine’s images in the exhibition are photogravures made in 2012. They are created in an edition of 12 and are printed on Sekishu Japanese handmade tissue and chine-colléd onto Somerset Velvet watercolor paper.
Of the book, Jill Connor writes, “True meaning only exists deep down in the observer’s reservoir of nostalgia, the place where we all want to go swim at night, an unpredictable dreamscape where figures and objects pose as symbols of one’s experience. The rhythmic juxtaposition between word and image is like a tango — complimentary partners creating a new, unique excitement.”
“The book opens with a poem titled, “The Moon,” which laments for this glowing satellite: “doomed to perpetual return, like the oceans, who grieve on her white marble steps.” And ends, wondering: “What draws you to us, angel of evil tidings, bearing the scent of the eternal, whom you flee, like a migratory bird fleeing the death of summer?” Turn the vellum page and you encounter, a woman’s figure writhing in the moon. She is someone, a memory taking form.”
“Sacabo continues to take us on a transcendental journey throughout ruins, moonlit ponds and clandestine meetings. These images become the observer’s personal allegory, evoking Gaston Bachelard’s “Water and Dreams” wherein elements of our interior life take on an otherworldly ambiance. Nocturnes recalls the wind-swept paintings of J.W. Turner and the decadent Neoclassical style of Gustave Moreau.”
“In the poem “For Chopin,” time and space seem to float in juxtaposition:
Time pauses before the web
your seanced fingers spin,
glistening and so delicately attached
to anything solid, it consoles like perfume
or a half-remembered kiss or smoke,
when its white silk pools in the hearth,
unwilling to renounce the tainted pleasure
of a sacrifice whose child is radiance.
Never has the geometry
of opposites slipped so pensively
from now to now. This grieved mirage
you coax from twilight
descends like the hesitant pilgrimage
downward of a leaf.
“Three photographs of light on a mirror gradually merge, articulating the beauty of the single memento mori that one left behind.”
“Once again Josephine Sacabo evokes the notion of transcendence that touches the erotic, sensual and mystical depths of consciousness. Her collaboration with poet and husband, Dalt Wonk, creates an alluring push-and-pull feel that moves one between longing and desire.”
Joséphine Sacabo lives and works mostly in New Orleans, where she has been strongly influenced by the unique ambience of the city. She is a native of Laredo, Texas, and was educated at Bard College, New York. Before mobbing to New Orleans, she lived and worked extensively in France and England. Her earlier work was in the photo-journalistic tradition, influenced by Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She now works in a very subjective, introspective style. She uses poetry as the genesis of her work and lists poets as her most important influences, among them Rilke, Baudelaire, Pedro Salinas, Vincente Huiobro, and Juan Rulfo, Mallarmé, and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Sacabo, has published four books of her work including "Une Femme Habitée" in Paris in 1991 by Editions Marval; award winning "Pedro Paramo" in 2002 by the University of Texas Press; "Cante Jondo" in 2002 and “Duino Elegie” in 2005 both by 21st Publishing. Sacabo has had solo shows in Paris, London, Madrid, Toulouse, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities. Her work has also been widely published in magazines in the United States and Europe and is in numerous Museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Modern Art - N.Y.; The Smithsonian - Washington D.C.; The Library of Congress; among many others. Joséphine Sacabo has taught at a number of highly acclaimed workshops: the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles - France and at the Santa Fe Workshops.
Dalt Wonk was born in New Jersey in 1942. He attended Bard College, where he graduated with a B. A. After living a decade in France and England, he set sail on a cargo ship for New Orleans, where he has lived ever since. Wonk is a poet, a playwright and an illustrator. His plays have been produced in New York, London, Munich, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and New Orleans. His musical collaborators in theater have included Charles Neville (of the Neville Brothers), Julius Hemphill (of the World Saxophone Quartet) and Alvin Batiste, the late New Orleans Jazz composer. Among the strongest influences on Wonk have been Europe, where he joined a French Theater company called La Grand Theatre Panique (for whom Wonk wrote the English language texts, when the company was invited to a theater festivals in Boston and New York). New Orleans, that most eccentric of American cities, has inspired many of Wonk’s creations. Latin America, with which Wonk has a deep personal connection, has also been an inspiration. Wonk has collaborated with internationally acclaimed photographer Josephine Sacabo on several projects, combining poems and photo engravings.