Item description for Frank Boyden: The Empathies by David James Duncan...
Inspired by slow-burning anger at the seemingly incurable inhumanity of man, and of his countrymen in particular, Frank Boyden set out to portray, in a series of drypoints, 'man-unkind' at his most hideous. . . . Moved by anger, yet led by the exigencies of an exacting and unforgiving medium, Frank soon forgot the ax he'd set out to grind, lost himself in the making of each image, and was gradually moved, by his own admission, from anger into feelings of empathy toward the monstrous characters he was depicting. . . . Via the magic of concentration and self-effacement, art itself created ninety-six paradoxically beautiful images of ugliness, against the artist's initial will.---David James Duncan This volume reproduces the complete suite of 96 drypoints in actual size (2 by 3 inches), together with an essay and notes by the artist, companion prose by Kim Stafford and David James Duncan, and a discussion between the artist, Julia D'Amario, Tom Prochaska, and Prudence Roberts.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 10.4" Width: 9.9" Height: 0.4" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Feb 15, 2007
Publisher Hallie Ford Museum of Art
ISBN 1930957572 ISBN13 9781930957572
Availability 0 units.
More About David James Duncan
David James Duncan is the author of The River Why, which won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award in 1983, and River Teeth, a collection of stories and writings. He lives with his wife, the sculptor Adrian Arleo, and family, in Western Montana where he is at work on his next novel.
David James Duncan currently resides in the state of Montana.
Reviews - What do customers think about Frank Boyden: The Empathies?
Incongruence in Drypoint May 26, 2007
This is a startling book of art and prose. Why startling? Alot of artists can do beautiful. Alot of artists can do ugly. Not very many can do both at once. Frank Boyden can.
Perhaps what most struck me about his prints was the way he created this paradox: left and right sides of the faces were very commonly incongruent. Sometimes when they were congruent a shaft of light disturbed that congruence into stereotypical ugliness. He used other tools: skinny, knobby fingers hiding an unseen pool of eyes or deformities or overgrown, bumpy noses with a tongue scatologically flicking out to clean warts or a sunken skull sided with a white and bald dull-eyed destitue or lumpy skin flagging on the frame-up as if the poor portrayed gentlewoman hadn't a skull to hold her head up.
His use of incongruence remains my favorite. I kept covering up half the picture on several to try and make these faces stereotypically beautiful. I whispered to them that if they would only...they really could be quite beautiful, you know, if only they tried.
The prose is a duo of a song. Kim Stafford's essay "The Long Sleep of Asia" covers the voice of a single picture, giving the voice of silence and empathy and wait and love.
David James Duncan is at first a whirlwind of essay then a parade of quotes. His essay is a clear hit, excellent in every way and his quotes are profound. The problem? The layout of those quotes make it difficult to pinpoint which voice belongs to which mouth. I began to play a board to book game of memory, shuffling the voices and the mouths to ownership (a real problem when like in drypoint 22 armor shutters the mouth and in 48 when the presence of a mouth is questionable). I found it endearing, but I'm biased about David Duncan.
To me the gem came at the end with a new short story by Duncan, a fledgling of a piece: three fat pages that swell in layers of art.
All in all it was a great book. I felt the layout could have used some work. The material, however, was phenomenal.