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Ace Boggess

“Why Are You Feeling Blah?”

            question asked by Randi Ward

Tangibly Illusive (Iteration 8) from the series Veiled Surfaces (Iterations) by Christopher Brown

Road out of town: traffic stalls:
two continuous lines of brake lights
piercing mist like a landing strip.
Semis muscle past candy-corn cones.
Difficult to escape this city of my birth—
I’ve tried, concluded where I began
like a Yo-yo that twists & undulates,
carving unusual arcs before resolving.
The silver hand covers eyes, hides
familiar buildings. It’s a dull existence
at 7 a.m., imagining movement,
parked in Drive in a lovely haze.


About the writer:
Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021), I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.

About Randi Ward: Randi Ward is a poet, photographer, translator, and lyricist working from Belleville, West Virginia.

Image: Tangibly Illusive (Veiled Surface, Iteration 8) from the series Veiled Surface (Iterations) by Christopher Brown (contemporary). Mixed media: oil, charcoal, and chalk on paper (finished in a satin varnish) glued to a 2-inch-deep boxed panel. The piece prominently features an inset (recessed) circle that is veneered with canvas; the edges of the piece are also veneered with canvas. 47 x 29.25 x 2 inches. 2021. By permission.

About the artist: Christopher L. Brown attended the art program at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, where he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in 1994, graduating cum laude and being awarded Departmental Distinction in Art. In 1995, he enrolled in the postgraduate sculpture program at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in 1997. At university, Christopher developed his interests and skills in wood and metalworking. After graduating, he moved to Atlanta, GA, where he worked in metal fabrication studios. Applying this experience, he decided to move back to Connecticut to launch a business designing and building art furniture. Christopher owned and operated his business until 2009 when he decided to stop designing furniture and focus singularly on art-making. Christopher now works from a home studio where he lives with his wife of 18 years and his three daughters. His art-making relies on intuition stemming from a full and practiced creative vocabulary accumulated over many years of education, muscle memory from using his hands, and life experience. Tapping into both reason and impulse, Christopher has been working abstractly for the past several years, visually exploring, through painting and sculpture, the spaces found within thought and emotion.

About the series: In the words of the artist: “The works in the series, Veiled Surface (Iterations), are offshoots from another series called Surfaces. Each Iteration begins as a charcoal, chalk, or pencil sketch from a work titled Surface (Veiled). Revisiting similar initial compositions through these iterations is a practice of seeing the familiar anew. Working with the same or similar lines and shapes enables me to examine the ways that mark (paint application) and color affect composition, mood, and meaning within the pieces. Through the application of various materials and techniques, each piece assumes a singular expression uniquely independent of other works in the series. While thinking about my approach to this series, I remembered a quote from William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” that speaks to the repetitive aspect of working through these Iterations, of looking intently on the known to find variance: ‘To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.'”

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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