.:| ISSUE TWENTY EIGHT |:.
LETISIA CRUZ &
"The Milky Way sounded delicious"
-- Cathleen Calbert
Still life includes the painting of dead animals. Living ones are not considered still life, but in many cases dead animals are used as a reference for still-life paintings.
We recently visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life exhibit, which explores American still life from the late 1700's through the 1960's. Over 130 works were featured, many which we found deeply moving. Still life, as many art enthusiasts point out, is an intimate art traditionally intended for display in private settings.
Still life provokes the senses. Issue 28 of Petite Hound Press, featuring photography by Michael Cassera and poetry by Cathleen Calbert, depicts a camera on a shelf. It invokes fragmented flashes like moving particles of light. In an instant—the second it takes for a camera shutter to open and close, the blink of an eye—a moment is captured. Sometimes within a single frame an entire lifetime begins and ends. The abyss within us inevitably stirs when we look through old photographs of friends long gone, parents no longer living, and past selves we hardly recognize.
"If I’m supposed to be / optimistic on the lip of this abyss," writes Cathleen Calbert.
Similarly, still life paintings generally portray inanimate subjects, such as flowers or dead animals, whose lifetimes have ceased to exist. And if we think about past moments as inaccessible -- "from inconceivable distances. / We’ll never get there, will we?" -- then every flash of light, every moment captured, is also still life.
We are living, breathing animals, but we are also dissolving bit by bit. With ISSUE 28, we wanted to create a sense of longing, a yearning for that single, stationary moment where the essence of who we are is somehow captured, ever so briefly, but not permanently transformed into stillness.
“Let me at least believe in light / particles that stay in place long enough / for us to measure loss within time and space," writes Cathleen Calbert.
POET Cathleen Calbert’s writing has appeared in many publications, including Ms. Magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The Paris Review. She is the author of four books of poetry: Lessons in Space, Bad Judgment, Sleeping with a Famous Poet, and The Afflicted Girls. Her awards include The Nation Discovery Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Sheila Motton Book Prize, and the Mary Tucker Thorp Award from Rhode Island College. Currently, she resides in Pacific Grove, California, with her partner and Papillons.
PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Cassera earned a BFA in Theater Design at VPA -- Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts. Today he works as the Head of Lighting with a theatre on the Las Vegas Strip, and he practices pinhole and other film photography in the Mojave Desert.