preface and figures (2012)

An Annotated Hearing Trumpet, Preface and Figures

martina johnston gallery September 2012

An Annotated Hearing Trumpet is an ongoing, multi-part response to surrealist painter Leonora Carrington's novel The Hearing Trumpet (written 1950, published 1970).

An Annotated Hearing Trumpet, Preface and Figures at Martina }{ Johnston Gallery in Berkeley, CA was the first public exhibition of what would turn out to be a durational performance of adapting another artist’s work - the 1950 novel by Leonora Carrington called The Hearing Trumpet.

The images and collages in this show were loosely conceived of as illustrations for Carrington’s book, but really they chronicle a parallel story: my process of imagining what it will be like to become a (fictional) old lady; my pursuit of Leonora herself; my fantasy casts for a film version of The Hearing Trumpet; and Leonora becoming her own fictional narrator Marian Leatherby*. As such, the pasted-up, formally provisional  show was an inside-out notebook, opened to share the methodically subjective yet unaccountable collection of images gathering during my reading.

The exhibition was also the setting for the first of two staged readings I gave with the art historian Moira Roth, an octogenarian herself.

*Marian Leatherby is the 92-year-old, toothless, vegetarian, and stone deaf narrator and protagonist who sports a "short grey beard which conventional people would find repulsive," but which she "personally" finds "rather gallant." She has a "death grip on [her] haggard frame as if it were the limpid body of Venus herself."