Sunday, December 26, 2010
"In the eyes of the world, Pierre was a great lord, the somewhat blind and ridiculous husband of a famous wife, an intelligent eccentric, a do-nothing, but one who harmed nobody, a nice and kind fellow. Yet in Pierre's soul all that time a complex and difficult work of inner development was taking place, which revealed much to him and led him to many spiritual doubts and joys."
I have often wondered how much Pierre reflects Tolstoy's inner world. Is this character based on him? Pierre seems to be the most fully-developed character in the book. What kinds of dark nights of the soul did Tolstoy experience? -- Lola
from page 555-556 of original text
Collage, acrylic paint
page 440-442 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Saturday, December 25, 2010
from page 553-554 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 439-440 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Thursday, December 23, 2010
from page 549-550 of original text
collage, oil crayon, India ink
page 437-438 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
I had been reading the book, but put it down again recently after Natasha almost eloped with bad-boy Anatole, Helene's brother. Anatole was assisted in his plot by the other true bad-boy, Dolokhov. It is unclear whether Prince Andrei forgave her. The one who is really in love with her is Pierre. Anyway, that's skipping ahead.
On this page (Volume II, Part Three, Chapter VI and VII),. Pierre has become the head of the Peterburg Masons.
"In the daze of his activities and diversions, however, Pierre began to feel after a year that the ground of Masonry, on which he stood, was giving way all the more under his feet the more firmly he tried to stand on it. Along with that, he felt that the further the ground he stood on gave way under his feet, the more involuntarily he was bound to it. When he was starting out in Masonry, he experienced the feeling of a man who trustingly sets foot on the smooth surface of a swamp. Placing one foot on it, he sank. To verify fully the firmness of the ground on which he stood, he placed the other foot on it and sank still more, became stuck, and now involuntarily walked knee-deep through the swamp."
Isn't that the way it is, sometimes? You know that something is not right, that you should get out, get away, yet you stay and become more embroiled in a bad situation. Why do people do that? --Lola
from page 545-546 of original text
collage, wax, acrylic paint
page 433-434 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Sunday, December 19, 2010
from page 543-544 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 431-432 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Saturday, December 18, 2010
from page 541-542 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, ink
page 429-431 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Friday, December 17, 2010
from page 539-540 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, ink
page 428-429 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Thursday, December 16, 2010
page 537-538 of original text
page 426-427 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Here we are in Volume II, Part Three, Chapter IV. Prince Andrei has asked for an audience with the minister of war, Count Arakcheev. I have picked up on the helicopters that Charlene Liska introduced into the mix a few collages ago. I also used some very old construction paper that Emma brought in. I think she found it in the eves of an old house that was being torn down.
"... as soon as the door opened, all the faces instantly expressed only one thing -- fear. Prince Andrei asked the officer on duty to announce him once more, but he was looked at with mockery and told that his turn would come in due time. After several persons were led into and out of the minister's office by the adjutant, the fearsome door received an officer who had struck Prince Andrei with his humiliated and frightened look. The officer's audience lasted a long time. Suddenly the thunder of an unpleasant voice was heard from behind the door, and the officer emerged, pale, his lips trembling, and. clutching his head, passed through the anteroom. " Next, it was Prince Andrei's turn. The minister of war was contemptuous. His petition is denied. -- Lola
from page 535-536 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 425-426 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
"I look for the other side of things (assuming there is another side.) This often involves a road trip. I try to reduce the visible world, which I find increasingly inscrutable, to essentials, using a variety of means, including both painted and electronic media and silkscreen.
Lately, I've been looking a lot at old movies, trying to capture something of their quality of wakeful, tangible dream, the enhanced reality of the black and white, the pivotal moment (the fleeing figure, the man in the mirror, the hand poised on the telephone.)
I take photographs, paint from the photographs, photograph the paintings. I like what the various iterations reveal."Here are her comments about this collage and project:
"I have been much taken by the literal and other meanings of the title War and Peace; e.g. polar oppositions both intrinsic parts of life, seemingly, both within and without us. I was struck especially by an extended conceit in War and Peace wherein a batallion of insects descends on a large, lush, red, red flower, conveying all the contradictory feelings of
danger and joy and luxury and sensuality and machine-like focus on 'objectives'. For your current show, I wanted to contribute something on the opposite end of the spectrum from what I understood you were doing so far, to introduce some of the yang to the yin or whatever the current metaphor is for the eternal dualities, thus the tiny helicopter/insects buzzing down the page like the black and white of the letters themselves."
from page 531-532 of original text
Sunday, December 12, 2010
using, but on that I recall reading a sweet scene between mother and daughter. It was taking place in their bedclothes in the mother's bedroom, where they were discussing Natasha's flirty, youthful love for Boris. This collage doesn't convey the tenderness, but I feel this particular stack of origami paper (here I've used the yellow and red plaid) has a domestic quality to it, and so it snuck in to offset that foreboding black. -- Adrienne
from page 529-530 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, printers ink
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Every collage we have done until now -- 299 of them -- is hanging in the gallery. Mark didn't photograph any beyond this one. We've been so focused on the show that I lost track of where he left off!
So bear with us and keep following along! And if you live in the Boston area, please come to one of our events. The big reception will be tomorrow from 6-9pm, and the smaller reception will be Thursday Dec 16 from 6-9pm. We have been getting a lot of press which is wonderful. So we are anticipating a fun party. I have confirmed with the Russian musicians, the food and drink is purchased, the gallery is beautiful. Until soon! -- Lola
from 527-528 of original text
page 418-420 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This is from the new magazine Time Out Boston which was published online on recently. The article is entitled "20 art shows to see this winter Cold weather culture, all season long: By David Wildman
Laura Baltzell: “The War and Peace Project” (Dec. 3–18)
Atlantic Works Gallery
Laura Baltzell is taking artistic ambition into whole new realms of the neurotic: She and a group of volunteers have pledged to make 750 separate collages using every page of her Russian copy of Tolstoy’s bleak classic. Her press release describes the idea as “crazy and enticing.” We know they got the first part right, at least. File this under: must be seen to be believed.
from page 525-526 of original text
page 416-418 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Nicolai Rostov is watching the Russian and French sovereigns together as Napoleon decorates a Russian soldier. These last few chapters are about Rostov's political awakening, a painful period for him.
"Rostov stood at the corner for a long time, looking at the feasting men from a distance. Painful work was going on in his mind, which he could not bring to an end. Terrible doubts arose in his soul. Now he remembered Denisov with his changed expression, his submission, and the whole hospital with those torn-off arms and legs, that filth and disease. He imagined so vividly now that hospital stench of dead flesh that he looked around to see where the stench was coming from. Then he remembered the self-satisfied Bonaparte with his white little hand, who was now an emperor, whom the emperor Alexander liked and respected. Why, then, those torn-off arms and legs, those dead people? Then he remembered the rewarded Lazarev and Denisov punished and unforgiven. He caught himself in such strange thoughts that it made him frightened."
I love this moment of questioning, soul searching. He is seeing things clearly -- and it is bitter. -- Lola
from page 523-524 of original text
Monday, November 29, 2010
from page 521-522 of original text
page 413-414 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tonight we -- Adrienne, Emma, Lynn, Mark, Lucy Arrington and I -- started to hang our show which opens on Friday. It is a daunting task -- all 30o individual collages. We first had to come to a concensus about how to approach the task, then we had to do it! We are more than halfway there. Next time we show, I hope that someone else does the PR -- and hangs the show. We have yet to straighten out details for the event itself. That said, we are all very excited about this opening on Friday night at 6pm. If you are reading this and live in the Boston area, we hope to have a full house and a wonderful party. -- Lola
from page 519-520 of original text
collage, pencil, acrylic paint
page 411-412 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Saturday, November 27, 2010
from page 517-518 of original text
collage, crayon, ink, graphite
page 410-411 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Friday, November 26, 2010
"The expression of annoyance had already disappeared from Boris's face; evidently having reflected and decided what to do, he took him [Rostov] by both hands with a particular calm and led him to the neighboring room. Boris's eyes, looking calmly and firmly at Rostov, were veiled as if by something, as if some sort of screen -- the blue spectacles of convention -- had been put on them. So it seemed to Rostov." -- Lola
from page 515-516 of original text
page 408-410 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Jon was making similar comments last night. How difficult it was for the US troops to shift from war-making to country-building. Questioning who is "the enemy" at this point. Acknowledging that the US is in Iraq out of US military/financial interests, but also that the US is morally obligated to clean up the mess that we created by totally destroying that country. He said that only way he keeps going is to keep to his mission and orders and not question too much, because it is messy and confusing and he does his best to do what he thinks is right. All that out of a 21 year old American soldier. -- Lola
from page 513-514 of original text
collage, graphite, jelly pen
page 407-408 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Denisov calls Rostov "Ghrostov". He says "ghreetings" rather than "greetings". Denisov writes a letter to the sovereign and asks Rostov to deliver it. He says, "It seems you can't bghreak an axhead with a stghraw". Since I read Russian so poorly, I am not sure how Tolstoy spells his speech. I will be more observant next time I meet up with Dolokhov. -- Lola
from page 511-512 of original text
collage, ink, wax, acrylic paint
page 405-407 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Here is a note that I received last week from Matt Kish, the creative genius behind One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick. Lucy Arrington initially contacted him to tell him about us and how his project was the spark behind ours. I emailed him a few days later myself. We are all huge fans of his. This project never would have started had it not been for him. So we owe a lot to him! Here is an excerpt of his email to me a few days ago which he gave me permission to post. -- Lola
It was a truly humbling experience to read about your project and learn that in some small way I was a part of the spark that inspired it. I've really never had anything like that happen to me (me inspiring someone else, I mean) so it's a really strange feeling. Good, but strange. You ask yourself a lot if you're really worthy of that kind of thing, you know? But it really did touch me very deeply, and made me very grateful that this project of mine has been able to reach out a bit beyond the damp and musty pages of Melville's own book and the minds of his admirers and into other people's lives in new and unexpected ways. Some time this week I will write a blog post about your project and hopefully point a few more people your war. Your project and your amazing art certainly deserve a great deal of respect and attention.
from page 509-510 of original text
collage, jelly pen, graphite
page 403-405 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Monday, November 22, 2010
I wish I had more ephemera on hand when I did this, but that is a whole other story….. Anyhow, I don’t have a clue what Tolstoy wrote on page 507/8. I guess the images of war (bloodshed, movement) were in my mind when I worked on this. -- Suz
I hope that Suzanne doesn't get too mad that I add to her comment. This is an absolutely beautiful piece. And it has a story! Do you wonder what happened to the missing ephemera that she referred to? Suzanne lives in NYC. She is an old friend of mine as well as Lucy Arrington's. We all met at work about 25 years ago. I mailed her the page of original text as well as some ephemera. I didn't hear back from her for a while, so I emailed. A week of silence. I called and asked about the progress of the collage (we need lead time so Mark can photograph them). She started off by saying, "please don't hate me...". She said that she completed the collage but didn't like it at all -- so she threw it out! Gone. In a landfill in New Jersey somewhere. I was aghast. I laughed and cried. Suzanne is a tough self-critic. She doesn't have the advantage of being in the studio with the group where we praise each and every effort. I told the other team members about the blunder and we were divided about what to do. Fake it? Leave a blank in the series? Mail her more materials gleaned from other original pages? We decided to give it another shot -- and look at this beauty that she came up with! My only regret is that she threw out the first one because knowing Suzanne, it was probably glorious as well. -- Lola
from page 507-508 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
Sunday, November 21, 2010
like. My favorite of these last three.... Otto
from page 505-506 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 400-402 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Russian army is still hungry - starving actually. When one of his conscripts tell Denisov that there's a supply train bringing food to an infantry unit nearby, he takes things into his own hands and hijacks it. Tolstoy's message is pretty clear. Denisov is the good guy, willing to risk his own career to make sure his troops stay fed. The bandaged soldier in the collage is James Norman Hall, born in
Colfax, Iowa, Grinnell graduate (1913ish?) and co-author of Mutiny on the Bounty, after he was shot down over France and captured by the Germans during ww1. (This
image was clipped from a recent Grinnell College Alumni magazine). Hall is also pretty close to what I imagine Denisov looking like. -- Otto
I would also like to give a "shout out" to Team Tolstoy friend Matt Kish whose project inspired ours. He graciously acknowledged our project on his blog One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick on Tuesday of this week. We never would have started had Lucy Arrington not found his blog late last year. She told me about it and is sparked an idea. The result of which is this project. We all follow Matt's blog every day. And encourage our readers to do so, too.
My not-so-secret fantasy is that Matt will one day contribute a collage to our project. That would be an amazing honor. So thanks Matt for doing what you do so well! -- Lola
from page 503-504 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 398-400 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Russian army is buried in mud from the spring thaw and out of food and fuel. Mud and poverty. So I thought I'd aim for a monochrome collage - browns and messiness. A
mess is what I wound up with. One of the hazards of this project is you only get one shot at the page. Once you've used the material, you don't get a second chance. So I'm not particularly happy with this effort, but it must stand. -- Otto
from page 501-502 of original text
page 398-400 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Thursday, November 18, 2010
from page 499-500 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, graphite, India ink
page 395-397 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
We are now in Volume II, Part Two, Chapter XIV/XV. Pierre has gone to the home of Prince Andrei and Princess Marya. Their father, the old prince, who is monstrous towards the princess, has taken a strong liking to Pierre. This family treats him respectfully, unlike everyone else who mock him or use him.
At last, Pierre is welcome and seen for his own special qualities. "Only now, during his visit to Bald Hills, did Pierre appreciae all the strength and charm of his friendship with Prince Andrei. This charm expressed itself not so much in his relations with him, as in his relations with the whole family and household. With the severe old prince and the meek and timid Princess Marya, Pierre felt at once like an old friend, though he barely knew them. They all loved him already. Not only did Princess Marya, won over by his meek attitude towards the wanderers, give him her most luminous looks, but the little one-year-old Prince Nikolai, as his grandfather called him, smiled and Pierre and went to his arms. And Mikhail Ivanych and Mlle Bourienne looked at him with joyful smiles when he talked with the old prince."
It is a beautiful thing when one is embraced by a whole family. This passage warms my heart. -- Lola
from page 497-498 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, ink
page 394-395 Pevear/Volkhonsky translation
Monday, November 15, 2010
from page 495-496 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, ink and wax
page 392-394 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Lo and behold, on this page (Volume II, Part Two, Chapter XIII), Prince Andrei and Pierre arrive at Bald Hills and encounter Andrei's sister Marya with her "people of God". She is extremely religious and one of her few pleasures in life, aside from caring for her motherless nephew, is her religion. We are introduced here to her "people of God", who are wandering saints (Marya's view) or trickster's (Andrei's view).
One of the wanders, Pelageyushka, describes a great blessing that was revealed in Kolyazin, a miracle-working icon. "There was radiance on her face, like a heavenly light, and it dripped from the holy Mother's cheek, just dripped and dripped...". Coincidentally, I used the image of the Mother Mary and baby Jesus in this piece. Really, it was unintentional. What to make of that? -- Lola
from page 493-494 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, ink
page 390-392 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"The world is a graph, revealed linearly by infinite microscopic, electric charges. Human thought and emotions are but so many forces which activate motion. The rhythms of life are dynamic, supercharged forces which move within orbits of their own destiny. Thus these lines speak of the infinite world, wherein human thought and action dwell." Next time I get to the studio I will dig out the book and note the author and title. Lucy wrote yesterday more favorably about this art critic, but I still find it highly amusing.
This page of the book is from Volume II, Part Two, Chapter XII. Pierre and Andre have met at Bald Hills nd are discussing management of their estates, the condition of the serfs and philosophy. Prince Andrei "... looked at the sky Pierre had pointed to, and for the first time since Austerlitz saw the high, eternal sky he had seen as he lay on the battlefield, and something long asleep, something that was best in him suddenly awakened joyful and young in his soul. This feeling disappeared as soon as Prince Andrei re-entered the habitual conditions of life, but he knew that this feeling, which he did not know how to develop, lived in him. The meeting with Pierre marked an epoch for Prince Andrei, from which began what, while outwardly the same, was in his inner world a new life."
This is Tolstoy at his best. I myself have had two experiences like this, what I would call a moment of spiritual awakening. Both times it happened in nature, once in the redwood forest in northern California and the other time on the beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is indeed very difficult to capture with words. -- Lola
from page 491-492 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 388-390 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Saturday, November 13, 2010
• June - July: General Strikes in St. Petersburg.
• July 19th: Germany declares war on Russia, causing a brief sense of patriotic union amongst the Russian nation and a downturn in striking.
• July 30th: The All Russian Zemstvo Union for the Relief of Sick and Wounded Soldiers is created with Lvov as president.
• August - November: Russia suffers heavy defeats and a large shortage of supplies, including food and munitions.
• August 18th: St. Petersburg is renamed Petrograd as 'Germanic' names are changed to sound more Russia, and hence more patriotic.
• November 5th: Bolshevik members of the Duma are arrested; they are later tried and exiled to Siberia.
We chose this image [and one of Lynn's as well] for the postcard for our show next month.-- Lola
from page 489-490 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
Friday, November 12, 2010
I love the neutrals you and Lynn have been doing - maybe because for me it brings more of a focus to the words and collage images. I don't know, but I love them.
Anyway, I read this passage a couple of times, and it actually made sense to me -
"... They evoke anonymous images of mystic implication. The lines move through the whole picture, knitting together a panorama of humanly motivated geature, each trapped within it own action and emotion -- a citadel of temporality, within a boundless and timeless space.... a panorama which decompartmentalizes human action..."
I would like to see the image it's describing.
Interestingly, I think it's also describing something that Tolstoy is trying to get at- "a panorama of humanly motivated gesture" - each character is so human, "trapped within it's own action and emotion" - I mean, if W&P were a giant painting, wouldn't it be a panorama of human actions and emotions - but how would you convey the movement through time and space, and the character's emotional growth (or not) that Tolstoy can convey through almost 2,000 pages of words -
One of the things I do in U.S. history class and my Asian Studies class is get 9th graders to look at images / paintings etc. and learn not only how to observe them, but how to describe them and how to see things in them. So I'm very interested in reading different descriptions of images. How can you use words to describe a piece of art, which is in itself perhaps made by an artist who is trying to depict something beyond mere words?
Perhaps words that attempt to describe something that is beyond words are doomed to sound pretentious...
from page 487-488 of original text
Thursday, November 11, 2010
from page 485-486 of original text
collage, photo corners
page 384-386 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
... They evoke anonymous images of mystic implication. The lines move through the whole picture, knitting together a panorama of humanly motivated geature, each trapped within it own action and emotion -- a citadel of temporality, within a boundless and timeless space.... a panorama which decompartmentalizes human action...
What in the world does that mean? Clearly the writer is not an artist! -- Lola
from page 483-484 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The day Lynn made this, it was just the two of us in the studio. We worked in neutrals all day -- no color on the palette, even. Lynn was trained as an architect, and this is her first venture into the third dimension. Unfortunately the photograph doesn't quite capture the whimsical and mysterious feel of this piece, even though Mark photographed it in both positions. The black rectangle in the center is cut into a spiral so if you tip the piece forward, more is revealed inside. She also used many languages -- of course the Russian, but also French, English and Hindi. The other interesting element is gleaned from a thesaurus -- defining friendship. Which is one of the main themes of this whole project.
888. Friendship -- N. friendship, amity, friendliness &c adj.: brotherhood, fraternity, sodality, confraternity, sorosis, sisterhood; harmony &c. (concord) --
That's Team Tolstoy! -- Lola
from page 481-482 of original text
page 381-383 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Monday, November 8, 2010
Here is an excerpt: "Pierre did not know that the village where he offered bread and salt and where a chapel to Peter and Paul was being built was a market village with a fair on St. Peter's Day, that the chapel had been begun long ago by the wealthy peasants, who were the ones who welcomed him, and that nine-tenths of the peasants in that village were completely destitute. He did not know that since, on his orders, women with nursing babies were no longer sent to do corvee, that these same women had to do still harder work on their own land... And therefore Pierre was delighted by his visits to the estates and returned fully to that philanthropic state of mind in which he had left Petersburg, and wrote rapturous letters to his mentor-brother, as he called the grand master."
Pierre, duped again. First by his beautiful wife Helene, and now by his estate managers. Yet can't we all relate to the feeling of self-satisfaction as we send money to hurricane victims in Haiti? or to our favorite charity? He's trying to do the right thing. As we all are. Only Tolstoy seems to have the BIG PICTURE, doesn't he? -- Lola
from page 479-480 of original text
page 380-381 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Sunday, November 7, 2010
from [age 477-478 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Here is the review in the November/December issue, written by our friend Pam Mandell. We are so psyched!
Every Friday, in an East Boston studio, two to four artists gather around a table, elbow-to-elbow, each creating a collage made from a page of Tolstoy's "War and Peace". They select materials from a central scrap box and share one palette of acrylic paint, which has been mixed for the day, at the table's center. The artists add other media such as graphite, walnut ink, wax, thread and dried flowers.
Laura "Lola" Baltzell, the initiator of and main contributor to "The War and Peace Project," was its "Tom Sawyer" as Lynn Waskelis, her other primary contributor, describes it. With infectious enthusiasm, Baltzell drew together a core group of seven artists and nearly a dozen other guest contributors.
Two hundred and fifty collages, of a planned 750, are being made from each page of a Russian edition of Tolstoy's epic novel (which Baltzell brought back from Moscow 3O years ago) and will be exhibited at Atlantic Works Gallery in December.
Currently in fine health, Baltzell received treatment for metastatic breast cancer in 2008. Having read the "average" life span of those living with her diagnosis is 30 months, Baltzell was inspired to "fly in the face" of this statistic and create something expansive, which would involve "dear friends" and might take a very long time to finish. Years even. This spring, when the project began, Waskelis, a two-time breast-cancer survivor, often found herself lying on the floor of her studio after chemo treatments. The mother of two got up to work because she perhaps felt very much like Prince Andrei in "War and Peace" when he senses "the whole of life, with all its joy, is open to me."
So much, indeed, is collected and celebrated in these alternately elegant, strange, funny and poignant pieces. Each seven-by-five-inch page of the book is mounted on Bristol paper and transformed by the addition of a rich assortment of text and images culled from old letters stamps, sheet music, guidebooks, sewing patterns, newspapers, maps and things gleaned from closets, junk shops, and yard and book sales. "War and Peace," which takes place before and during the Napoleonic Wars, is known certainly for its length (about 1500 pages) but remains resonant today for Tolstoy's depiction of humanity in all it’s complexity and breadth - from princes to soldiers, from the ballroom to the battlefield. Similarly, so much of life and at its human interactions, from the mundane to the nostalgic, the playful to the spiritual, is glimpsed in these small collages which literally hold pieces spanning continents and time: embossed hotel stationery postmarked "Times Square 1912"; a yellow and brown Japanese origami flower; a Moroccan map; an image of a Hindu goddess (brought back from India); text from a 19th century German manuscript; French, Latin and Portuguese phrases; lyrics from faded hymnals; bright green diamonds cut from 1960s-era playing cards; and silhouettes of Dutch children.
Several pages from the 1971 Russian text have been sent to artists on Cape Cod and in Berlin. 0tto Mayr, the Berliner, is one of the seven main project artists, along with Lucy Arrington, Emma Rhodes, Lucy Zahner Montgomery and Adrienne Wetmore. There are rules, Baltzell explained, that allow for "individual voices with some unity." One rule is that virtually no money can be spent on materials. Another rule is that each collage must use, or reveal, one word of the original Russian text. Also, the artists may not go back to touch up their individual pages. Finally, the work is not for sale, nor does it belong to the artists - a truly communal effort of which even Tolstoy might approve. -- Pamela Mandell
Friday, November 5, 2010
Tolstoy was an astute social critic, and here's how he describes the reaction to the proposed changes:
"Some of the stewards (there were half-literate managers among them) listened fearfully, taking what he said to imply that the young count was displeased with their stewardship and their concealing of money; others, after the first fright, were amused by Pierre's list and the new words they had never heard before; a third group took pleasure in hearing how the master spoke; a fourth group, the most intelligent, the head steward among them, understood from his speech how they ought to treat a master in order to achieve their own aims."
Tolstoy is tough on everyone! When I first read this book 30 years ago, I remember thinking that he was anti-aristocracy and pro-peasant. This time around, it seems that he is a tough critic -- no one escapes his reach. Other than Natasha. She seems to be the only character that he does not bash or call out in some way. -- Lola
from page 475-476 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
page 377-378 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Beth Jorgansen Sherman
from page 376-377 of original text
page 376-377 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
from page 471-472 of original text
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
It's amazing how this project has grown since the beginning. I started it on a whim with just a small head of steam that was quickly spent. It was too daunting and I wasn't particularly inspired. Enter Lynn, then Lucy A and Lucy ZM, a little later Emma, Adrienne and Otto... and our guest artists... now we're rocking.
Working with this incredible group of artist friends, I am so pleased. By everyone's commitment to the project, how far we've come, by the quality of the work, by how close we've gotten as a group, how each of us has stretched and grown. I never would have made a collage of this complexity had I not been working with this team these last 6 months or so. I know that I personally have grown enormously in in terms of my own compositions, use of materials and color. Having Beth and Lori in the studio in mid-September (guest artists featured the last few days) is a great example of the power of this project. I was working mostly from their bit and pieces. And I like the result!
I had slacked off on reading War and Peace but picked it up again on the weekend. I intend to finish it -- maybe reading in pace with the collage progression. Last night I was reading about Natasha's first ball. It is a lovely passage. It is a cool project. Go Team Tolstoy! -- Lola
from page 467-468 of original text
Sunday, October 31, 2010
We had 2 guest contributors in the studio on 9/17/10: Lori, who was featured yesterday, and Beth who is featured today. They were both in Boston for a reunion. Lynn has known them both since grade school, and Beth went to college with Lynn, Lucy Zahner Montgomery, Otto and me. The degrees of separation in this group are very few! -- Lola
Happy Halloween! I wonder if there's any hidden meaning in writing about my collage on this day of tricks and treats.
So. My collage. I remember that day so clearly -- how much fun I had doing my first collage with Team Tolstoy. I sort of felt that I should have been called Liz all day, just to fit in as everyone's name seems to begin with an "L". Looking at all the ephemera in the scrap box was a little overwhelming, but then you just had to choose and jump right in! So much laughter and talking, and fun watching Sasha!! I think this part of the book discussed a baby and soldiers marching into war. I remember thinking it was sort of weird to have two such different things going on in only a page or two!!
I remember thinking at the time that I should write down notes - but then I got too involved in cutting and gluing and laughing. I really had so much fun. -Beth
from page 465-466 of original text
Saturday, October 30, 2010
On this day Lori dove into the project, head-first, with no hesitation. I love what she has done here- inspired by her reading the English translation while at the studio. It was so delightful to be in the studio with Lori and Beth. Another unexpected pleasure.
In this scene (Volume II, Part Two, Chapter VIII), Boris attends a "magnificent" salon at Helene's, the Countess Bezukhov. Is she seducing him?
"Having come on Tuesday evening to Helene's magnificent salon, Boris was not give a clear explanation of why it had been necessary for him to come. There were other guests, the countess spoke little to him, and only as he kissed her hand on taking her leave did she, with a strange absence of a smile, unexpectedly, in a whisper say to him... [in French] 'Come to dine tomorrow... in the evening. You must come... Do come.'
Lori Gordon Miller
from page 463-464 of original text
page 367-368 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation
Friday, October 29, 2010
from page 461-462 of original text
page 365-367 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation