Saturday, August 3, 2019

Asemic Art and Writing by Robin Jeree

Asemics by Robin Jeree (Arlington, Texas, USA)
I am very pleased to welcome Robin Jeree to the Asemic Front project. She is a member of the asemic writing group at IUOMA-Ning, which is responsible for bringing so many fine contributions to these pages.

Robin Jeree is relatively new to asemic writing; however, her asemic work can be viewed at other locations and shows great talent and potential, in my estimation. I am also pleased that Asemic Front is a showcase for new talent as well as the contemporary greats.

I hope to share more of Robin's work in the future, including collabs.

- De Villo Sloan
 Reverse side of opening piece by Robin Jeree

 By Robin Jeree
By Robin Jeree (Texas, USA)


Sunday, July 28, 2019

New Asemic Writing & Art by Kerri Pullo

Asemic art, writing and calligraphy by Kerri Pullo (Tucson, Arizona, USA)
I am thrilled to share this stunning new work by Kerri Pullo on Asemic Front 2.
An acclaimed asemic writer and visual artist who needs no introduction to this audience, Kerri Pullo has been a generous contributor to Asemic Front from the beginning, even when we were virtually unknown. Her high quality and intellectually challenging pieces here have generated great interest and, I am certain, helped attract the diversity of artists and writers who have and are making Asemic Front an epic chronicle of visual poetry in the 21st century.  
We know asemics are highly subjective. With that in mind I want to make the very non-objective statement that I find the piece above to be one of the finest examples of Kerri Pullo's work I have ever seen. (I add, with great pride, that I am deeply familiar with the phases of her work and have even had the privilege to be her editor!)
She is widely praised and noted for her calligraphy, which is showcased in this work. Kerri achieves an asemic perfection of calligraphy in the piece that few, if any, can match. (Don't take my word alone; see what other commentators have said about her skills.) The extraordinary blue-aquamarine tonality (rather than black and white) reveal the possibilities of asemic art and asemics as a branch of visual poetry.
Another interesting aspect of this work is the linearity. Lately, I have noticed Kerri Pullo has been exploring complex structures rather than linearity and simple glyph constructs. Here is an example:
I hope to soon take a closer look at these structural pieces. In the meantime, again, I am very excited to be able to share this new work on Asemic Front 2.
- De Villo Sloan

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"Chaya Typed-over" - Collabs by Chaya-Malkah Frank & De Villo Sloan


Asemic Front 2 collab by Chaya-Malkah Frank (Columbus, Ohio, USA)
& De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA)
Collab starter using scan of textile asemic piece by Chaya-Malkah Frank
Type-over added by De Villo Sloan
Detail of collab by Chaya-Malkah Frank & De Villo Sloan
Collab by Chaya-Malkah Frank & De Villo Sloan (glitched)

Textile Asemics by Chaya-Malkah Frank

Textile asemic composition by Chaya-Malkah Frank (Columbus, Ohio, USA)
With residents John M. Bennett, C. Mehrl Bennett and Chris Wells, Columbus, Ohio in the USA heartland is a fabled location on the world map of asemic writing and visual poetry. Asemic Front 2 is pleased to officially add Chaya Malkah-Frank to our version of the chart, confident others will agree. She kindly sent this FAB fabric piece to the project, which I am thrilled to acknowledge and document.
Those familiar with Asemic Front know I have a deep appreciation for and interest in asemics made with fabric, string, and sewn. My appreciation for textile asemics is a reflection of the larger audience; posts of this kind always prove popular. So I am thrilled to greet Chaya Malkah-Frank at the beginning of what is sure to be an outstanding visual poetry career (re-phrasing something someone once said to someone else somewhere else). And I offer my deepest thanks. I hope to share more of her work as part of AF2.
- De Villo Sloan

Detail study of textile asemics by Chaya-Malkah Frank

Sunday, July 14, 2019

More Interzona - Asemic Front 2 Collaborations: Ferran Destemple & De Villo Sloan

Detail of collab by Ferran Destemple (Barcelona, Spain)
& De Villo Sloan (New York, USA)
I recently received a package from Ferran Destemple in Spain containing completed collaborations, drafts & starters. This represents a continuation of mail art trades creating material for Ferran Destemple's Interzona project as well as for Asemic Front 2.
By focusing on the materiality of the process, I believe we have been able to enter into a spiritual collaboration with a third presence in the work: William S. Burroughs. My work with Ferran Destemple freely uses the "cut-up technique" & randomness principles to reveal truths concealed beneath the surface texts. I am greatly enjoying our work with Ol' Uncle Bill & look forward to more.
- De Villo Sloan

By Ferran Destemple (Barcelona, Spain) & De Villo Sloan (New York, USA)

By Ferran Destemple (Barcelona, Spain) & De Villo Sloan (New York, USA)

By Ferran Destemple (Barcelona, Spain) & De Villo Sloan (New York, USA)
Solo piece by Ferran Destemple. This could be used as a collab starter if
put into digital form, but I would not alter the original paint on paper work.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Studies in Material Culture Series: Serse Luigetti & De Villo Sloan

Collab for the Studies in Material Culture Series (part of Asemic Front 2) by Serse Luigetti (Perugia, Italy) & De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA)
I am pleased to be able to use an iconic and highly relevant visual poem by Serse Luigetti for the ongoing Studies in Material Culture Series. I have produced several different variations of the cover.
For those who might be mystified, Studies in Material Culture is an imaginary journal. Only covers exist, but they are covers made by some of the world's best visual poets and asemic writers. (I am humbled and honored to be involved.) Often they are collaborations.  
Perhaps all these covers will be collected one day and made into a publication. But I am getting ahead of myself! In the meantime, deepest thanks to Serse Luigetti for his participation.
By Serse Luigetti & De Villo Sloan (version #2)
By Serse Luigetti & De Villo Sloan (version #3)
Original image by Serse Luigetti

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Case for the Gothic Asemic: An Artist's Book by Jay Snodgrass

Cover of book by Jay Snodgrass (Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Kristine and Jay Snodgrass have already helped shape the tone and direction of Asemic Front 2 with their contributions. Jay Snodgrass is an established figure in the intertwined asemic writing and visual poetry communities who is no need of a lengthy introduction. Kristine Snodgrass, in collabs with Jay and via solo work, is doing - in my estimation - image-text work of increasing interest and importance. Here is one example from AF2:
Additionally, Kristine Snodgrass has become an honorary if not full-fledged member of the Eternal Network, interacting supportively with the contingent of visual poets who primarily communicate through and identify with the international mail art network, which has been an important vispo conduit for decades.
So I hope AF2 will exhibit more of her work in the future. AF2 is essentially an Eternal Network project (although not exclusively) so those willing to surf the vagaries of Fluxus, conceptualism, Ray Johnson, etc. along with the complexities of vispo are deeply appreciated.
Today I am documenting a solo artist's book by Jay Snodgrass that I have withheld for too long from the AF 2 audience. I know you will appreciate the brilliance and beauty of this piece.
This book is exclusively asemic text so it has no explanations in conventional language; the title is asemic as well. (Most asemic books include readable explications, which actually thwart the experience of "reading" asemics.) This book is a showcase for Jay Snodgrass's distinctive stylistics so familiar to his audience.
In previous commentary, I have suggested Snodgrass's asemic symbols and structures are drawn from dismantled medieval script, using adept calligraphy. Despite my shortcomings as a medievalist, no one has challenged my contention thus far. Emboldened, I will be more specific and point out the gothic nature of this specific book, gothic being, of course, rooted in the medieval. The gothic was transformed into a literary mode starting in the 18th century. Gothic asemic vispo might be esoteric, but I believe the genre exists. Here we have a compelling example.
Jay Snodgrass is a visual poet because his work incorporates the interplay between image and text (even if that text is "unreadable"). On the basis of what I know of his work, Snodgrass concentrates on images of human anatomy and/or machines (specifically aircraft).
This choice of imagery alone deserves an extended discussion of signification and symbol generation; however, I will limit myself to the observation that the skeletal imagery in this book (see above) accompanied by the asemics creates a gothic mode, as if - for example, a tale by E.A. Poe were translated into a 21st century postavant text. The predominance of black and white further affirms the gothic mode and evokes its close relative film noir.

Two page spread from book by Jay Snodgrass
Detail study
A great challenge for the asemic writing audience as well as theorists is the question: How do we read an asemic text? Interesting solutions are likely to emerge in the years ahead. Currently, most readers approach asemic texts as we approach Interpreting abstract art: Fields of shifting emotions, topographical charts of feeling. Think of an individual's response to a tumultuous Jackson Pollock canvas or a Cy Twombly painting. We also think of abstraction as meta-art: art about art. Asemic writing can be seen as meta-language: Symbols that only refer to themselves.
Following the current emotive consensus approach, the Jay Snodgrass book is ultimately elusive and deconstructive. While I believe the gothic mode is present and provides a unifying principle to the pages, even a kind of narrative, the composition has deeper emotional nuances and allusions that gradually reveal themselves. A gothic text signals certain inherent themes - decay, fear, despair, etc. - that the artist-author refines and manipulates.
Yet rather than an overriding preoccupation with decay and bleakness associated with the gothic-noir, the Snodgrass book also emanates joyful emotions and a very non-gothic aesthetic. This might, indeed, be a stellar example of Derrida's "deconstructive thread." Through the shear magic of artistry, Snodgrass overcomes the seeming contradictions of the work and creates a unity. In other words, the book is successful; you can test my perceptions by comparing them with your own.
The fluid meandering of asemic signs that engulf the pages and the lush contours, colors and tones beyond the black and white, in fact, communicate a feeling of exuberance and freedom. Snodgass's medieval asemics meld in places to a writing that has the appearance of street art. Astute readers have already noted that the book has at least two styles of asemic writing: the trademark Snodgrass medieval-rooted symbols and a stylized, post-modernized variant of the root style.  Areas of color provide relief from the Existentialist noir.
While many asemic-vispo texts are sterile meditations on the nature of signification (and thus successful in terms of their purpose), this work by Jay Snodgrass is highly expressive and explores complex emotional states. This vision, fairly unusual in vispo I have reviewed, reflects the postmodern concept of a fragmented, shifting self not adequately defined in traditional literary and psychological notions of "character." In the same way, Snodgrass appropriates and subverts elements of gothic art and literature.
I am thrilled to be able to share this interesting work as part of Asemic Front 2.
- De Villo Sloan
By Jay Snodgrass
 Back cover of asemic-vispo artist's book by Jay Snodgrass