Wednesday, August 09, 2006


OurOwnVoice, where I volunteer duty as Contributing Editor for the Arts, has released a new issue! Of course I'm pleased to direct you to a review of PUNCTUATIONS , but more importantly, please to check out moi discourse on Thomas Fink's paintings of the hay(na)ku! -- of which this is one:

Here's some excerpts from moi engagement with Tom's paintings that hopefully will tickle you into reading the whole thing over at OurOwnVoice, a zine with a particular focus on Filipino diasporic culture:

It's worth noting the scale of these paintings. The largest in this series is 36" x 24", though that size is an outlier. Most are smaller at 16" x 20" or 24" x 12" or 8" x 10". Such scale reflects that the inspiration is a poem and, in its pre-variations version, a short poem. The paintings, like the poems, use scale to encourage an intimate relationship with the viewer; for example, due to their size, the paintings can be held, close to the body, close to the eyes.


The backgrounds to the paintings are multilayered with imagery that can evoke handwritten scrawls to organism-drenched seabeds to cells under a microscope to flower blossoms to moon craters. The backdrop can even evoke the spreading of a virus, albeit a positive one since the matter at hand is poetry. And the backgrounds, by evoking the sea, ultimately references what connects the Philippines and U.S. together so that, notwithstanding their earlier troubled history, they can unite through something like poetry. The sea or ocean may also be seen to refer to the Philippines' diasporic history and how such created a poetic form that's deliberately intended to be transnational.