Cobalt Blue: Selected writings from the papers of Sam Francis
Edited and designed by Jaime Robles
Sam Francis Foundation
2019, 184pp, 7.8 x 10.3 ins
In order to put together this volume I read the painter Sam Francis’ writings currently in the Getty and family archives, selecting not only poetry and prose but also records of his dream life from the ’60s to his death in the 1994 that have never been published before. The artwork includes reproductions of works on paper and monoprints created by Francis throughout the 1970s and ’80s. There are four photographs of the abstract-expressionist painter taken at different periods of his life. For the production I used a new seven-color print technology to create plates with added color density and accuracy with the original works.
“Sam Francis combines his incredible talents of writing and art together into one book. Cobalt Blue: Writings from the Papers of Sam Francis is a compilation of Francis’ writing, each piece juxtaposed with an equally gorgeous image. With its posthumous release last month, the publication features mesmerizing never-before-published works that have been carefully curated. Colorful and abstract, his paintings and words are as meditative and meaningful to the eyes and minds of the reader as they were to Francis himself.” – Megan Averbuch
Shearsman Books, Bristol, UK
Paperback, 80pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins
“It’s possible to speak of a mental calm in the act of composition which opens the mind to progressive thought and enlarges its resources by overcoming the inhibitions created by anxiety. It’s a quality of the text rather than the author, though I think certain mental habits must be conducive to it. It’s not by any means incompatible with protest or even anger. This definition will not be found in any dictionary and I might have invented it, but the word “serene” could hold some hint of it … In Hoard it is a constant condition of Jaime Robles’ poetry. The main part of the book is a set called Hoxne which meditates in 18 poems on items from the Hoxne Hoard, a Romano-British hoard of gold and silver objects and coins discovered not long ago in Suffolk, which is also referred to in other sections of the book … Liberating calm informs the writing as an agent of coherence, making possible an interplay of opposed forces in perfect equanimity.”
— Peter Riley, The Fortnightly Review
Anime Animus Anima
Shearsman Books, Bristol, UK
Paperback, 80pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins
Anime, Animus, Anima looks at the mysteries of the body and consciousness through imagery found in three classic Japanese anime — Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell series, Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion and Shinichiro Watanabe’s Cowboy Bebop. … The poems weave in the author’s contemporary American viewpoint, fusing the work into a collection with multiple layers that has the West looking at the East looking at the West. The poet also uses the animation process to examine how we look at the world that surrounds us and how “viewing” feeds both love and alienation.
“These deeply intelligent poems navigate between the moment ‘unmerged space sheds us’ and the girdling ‘within which change or mutation hurtles in inconclusive odds, absolving inevitability.’ The philosophical challenge of this book is matched by its humanity and integrity.”
—Elizabeth Robinson, author of Counterpart and Three Novels
The Lune, Sacramento, California
Paperback, 184pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins
Memory Palace is part of a collection published by The Lune, marking the end of their thirty-title chapbook series. The Autumn 2017 publication includes chapbook-length contributions by Jaime Robles, Sherry Luo, Nicholas Fuenzalida, Eleni Padden, Genelle Chacones, and Curtis Romero. “The resulting sextet of lyric and prose poetry forms a lunar ecology wherein the word surges, sits, chants and chats, alive in the magnetism of this mad maker’s millennium.”
“Living presences of family history animate Jaime Robles’s Memory Palace. Each poem finds ‘a passageway to elsewhere’ in this house of ghosts and gifts, where shelves gather ‘dolls made of dried apples, / faces like old women, creased and carved.’ Nature and poet collaborate in this lyrical memoir of shared belonging among collections ‘like everything green growing.’ Robles’ perceptive and precise language guides us through rooms and staircases, interrupted conversations and unfinished paintings, into the garden below. Memory Palace leads us to believe in ‘rooms beyond the door’ that bring us home again.”
— W. Scott Howard, University of Denver
Sisters of Invention: Forty-Five Years of Book Art by Sas Colby, Betsy Davids, and Jaime Robles
San Francisco Center for the Book, San Francisco
Paperback, 54pp, 8.25 x 11ins
“What can be made from words? Or what do words make? Only what we make of their meaning, or something more? In the multitude of works in Sisters of Invention words are found struggling to be more, to be embodied in color, in shape, solid, sculptural, to live in time, appearing and disappearing. Here are words on a tablet of beeswax, in a bottle, sewn onto fabric. Book covers become wooden doors, pages become canvases, poems descend on wires, and we are lifted into the secret three-dimensional life of language. Interplay between the physical lives of books/or book like objects, with their interior literary message gives tension to this extraordinary exhibit…. The three women represented here, each a multidisciplinary artist, carry forward a creative practice born amidst the feminism of the 1970s, but in no way limited by that…. There is something generative in the sheer variety of work presented, this constant invention, as the title suggests, is contagious. As more than one viewer was heard to say, ‘I’m going home right now to start to make a book.’ Sisters of Invention succeeds on all fronts.”
—Barbara Roether, author of This Earth You’ll Come Back To.
Link to Roether review is here.
Link to Repeat Performances review of the Sisters of Invention exhibition is here.
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