[Easthampton, NY: 2013]. Unique artist's book, hand-written and hand-painted by the artist / author, Barry McCallion on cream Rives BFK and black St. Armand paper, signed and dated the printed colophon, "Barry McCallion / January 2013." Page size: 11-15/16 x 9-3/8 inches; 28pp. Bound: loose as issued housed in custom-made black cloth over boards clamshell box with large red "X" - cancellation stamp - on front of box with collaged "stamp" 1-1/8 x 2 inches, hand-drawing in black ink showing oarsman rowing in boat within a roundel, titled OARS MESSAGES with square, cross, circle, and double circle in each of the four corners, title in black on white paper label on spine, fine. The text is written in white ink on black St. Armand paper and the "cancelled stamps" are drawn in black india ink and colored with Winsor & Newton inks, including silver metallic.
The artist / author notes that this book contains notes in the Oarsman's hand (not legible)and cancelled stamps unique to the messages of 1973. "The Oarsman resolved on his journey in 1970. As he spent the next two years organizing his departure and provisioning his boat, these are his earliest - as well as his most elaborate attempts to communicate. The Oarsman's journey is not without precedents; Joshua Slocum or Odysseus explore and engage the world from the 'boat of self.' Any journey - long or short, actual or fictional - becomes a pattern for life. These drawings afford us a glimpse of the Oarsman. The stamps are cancelled. If we are inclined to be generous, we can infer that they (and he) arrived at their destination." Barry McCallion continues his exploration of the narrative of his created world (or is it his observations of this world?) through chance word and particular image. His creation of the Oarsman - a sailor / traveler who rows (backward of course) towards his mythical destination - is intriguing. His voyages may be autobiographical or completely haphazard. He hoists his sails or locks his oars and is off - and we follow, observing from the sidelines, to places we otherwise would not go. Item #10643