Ringing Bells

detail of an installation by William Christenberry, borrowed from NPR.

I loaded the camera with color film because I was beginning to question the total non-objective nature of my painting . . . I wanted to come to grips with the landscape that I was so familiar with

[describing sculpture] these pieces are called “Southern Monuments,” they are meant to be sort of evocative of what you might dream that you saw in the landscape . . . as I get older poetry becomes so very important to me. One of my favorite writers, poets poets Miss Emily Dickinson . . . a beautiful line in a letter to one of her sisters

Memory is a strange bell, both jubilee and knell

As I get older the pieces become less literal and become more related to memory and the loss of memory

William Christenberry, audio interview at Lens Culture

Listening to the snippets at NPR, I was struck by Christenberry’s correction of the question “Which of these pictures lives within you?”— “you mean subjects?” . . . It’s an interesting move to me because it deflects from his crafts (sculpture, painting, photography) to a deeper question of what is important in the world. The answer, for Christenberry, is often a building—a locus where people gather in the middle of the landscape. Isolation, he claims, is a significant thing that draws him. It occurs to me that the bell won’t ring if it is muffled by things around it, or stripped away like the bell tower at Sprott church.