This is the first of what I hope will be several projects on vispo.com
involving the work of Joe Keppler. We've been friends for twenty years.
Reading his work, for me, is full of the same sense of discovery and
excitement you feel when you talk with him. I've never met anyone else as
acute as he is when you look at art together. And that critical scope and
fresh perceptivity is part of how he greets life as well as art.
Joe publishes Poets.Painters.Composers.Critics.Sculptors.Slaves. from
Seattle. He has been publishing this poly-artistic project since the 80's.
Some issues are printed. Others are in sound, sculpture, posters, and other
media. The visual poems published on vispo.com are by Joe from a 2007 issue
called "the first remainder series" which also included work by fifteen
other artists. Of the series, Joe says:
"In the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul’s, Goodwill’s, and
Salvation Army’s thrift-store poetics and aesthetics,
Poets.Painters. Composers.Critics. Sculptors.Slaves.
announces its first remainder series.
The basic idea is to use up our remainder of paper stock
for small editions of poetry and art. The paper stock for
our first remainder series is in various weights and colors
though all of it is letter size (8.5” x 11”, 216mm x 279mm).
Printed work will be issued in numbered editions of 25 or
less, 40% of which goes to the poet or artist. While they
last, these ordinary prints will be available for $6 a copy,
which doesn’t include postage and handling, or $7, which does,
payable to Poets.Painters. Composers.Critics.Sculptors.Slaves.
10254 35th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98146 USA. Of course the
artist is free to sign and price his or her portion differently.
Another of the project’s reasons for being has been to catch
the differences between print and electronic media, and a
working title for the project could have been, to paraphrase
an important Walter Benjamin title, “The Work of Reproduction
in an Age of Technological Art.”
Most of the electronic, pdf versions of the First Remainder
Series are extant and available via email. Some actual,
numbered prints are still obtainable from the artists or from
Seattle’s Wessel & Lieberman Books."
Of his own work in this series, Joe says:
"We fold. That is, we crease. We crease & increase, six new
folds for ppccss's first remainder series. Differences
among arts and technologies make actual creases in the
print editions and simulated creases in the pdf files.
In either case folding, a philosophical, sculptural,
genetic, and poker activity, unfolds a metaphoric,
heterogeneous poetics. Also, here's an assembly simply
entitled, "ODE." It consists of four corner brackets
pasted to a stiff sheet with a small “o” printed on it.
The numbered print edition has metal brackets and the
pdf simulated brackets."
The 'folding' dimension of these pieces is typically interesting and
humorous. The first remainder series with lots of folding. Which you'd like
in a remainder series, surely. The whole thing is folding in a poetics of
(graceful) collapse. That may rise with folding of a different sort.
But you don't need to know the fold motif to appreciate this little suite.
COUPLET, for instance: a couplet is a pair of lines; Joe has them
intersecting. Very simple. A totally minimal visual poem that relates the
lterary and the visual. It's so visually simple it's startling.
TERZA RIMA alludes to a verse form where the stanza is three lines long and
the first and third lines rhyme. And the second line rhymes with the first
and third of the next terza rima stanza. Here again we have a visual
correlative of a literary form. In Joe's piece, the first and third line are
the same; and all three lines have shading that can either look bookish or
be of shades of rhyme, those fields of linguistic energy.
Joe's work does not acquiesce to the typical page. It's different and
unexpected. Fresh. Probing. Literary, visual, and spatial at once.