Prayer Palimpsest. Texts by Robert Louis Stevenson, Meister Eckhart, Stuart Kestenbaum, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rainer Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda, Iris Murdoch, George Herbert, Walt Whitman, William Blake, Pierre Pradervand, Psalms, Thomas Merton.

Belfast, ME: 2013. of seeing a multitude of spiritual aspirations at the same time. Artist's book, unique, on Hollytex, some pages painted in acrylics, all lettered in black sumi, signed and dated by the artist, Jan Owen, on the front wrapper. Page size: 6-3/8(W) x 11-5/8(L) inches; 44pp. each page completed covered in hand-lettered text, except the center page spread which has boldly lettered: "If thank you was the only prayer you ever said, it would suffice" hand-lettered on a smaller sheet 4-3/8(W) x 9-1/2(L) inches. Bound: hand-sewn by the artist, Jan Owen, in yellow and coral painted Hollytex with title, PRAYER PALIMPSEST, lettered in black on white Hollytex visible through the translucent yellow and coral painted wrapper, the book housed in white card stock folder with the title and artist and date lettered in black on front cover, the white folder laid inside a painted yellow slipcase with the title and artist hand lettered on label collaged to front of slipcase and again on spine; also collaged to front cover, running perpendicular to title is a portion of Hopkins' great poem, "Pied Beauty."
Ms. Owen's dense lettering in a variety of calligraphic styles and sizes, including Latin "Gloria" in large antiphonal-style letters, is perfectly suited to this homage to the various forms of spiritual thought shared by mankind. The texts (some repeats) run vertically as well as horizontally across successive pages or not. As the pages are translucent, the reader has the impression of seeing a multitude of spiritual aspirations at the same time. The book opens with "If thank you is the only prayer you say, it would suffice" (Eckhart). Robert Louis Stevenson's well-known verse, "Give us grace and strength to persevere…" follows. Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine's Poet Laureate, is quoted with, "Prayer. Our problem - may I include you? - is that we don't know how to start, how to just close our eyes and let something dance between our hearts and lips…" This is the first of many quotes from poet Stuart Kestenbaum. Other poets - Rilke, Herbert, Tagliabue, Whitman, and the aforementioned Gerard Manley Hopkins, are included with familiar verse.
The reader / viewer is left with the impression that prayers - no matter who wrote them - have a commonality, and that is mankind giving thanks. This work containing inspirational words is also aesthetically pleasing, a pleasure to read (no matter how incomplete the texts appear) and view. The OED definition of palimpsest states that it is a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing and that is what we find here. The translucent pages work with the calligraphy to create a sense of multi-layered beauty. The book opens with "If thank you is the only prayer you say, it would suffice" (Eckhart). Robert Louis Stevenson's well-known verse, "Give us grace and strength to persevere…" follows. Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine's Poet Laureate, is quoted with, "Prayer. Our problem - may I include you? - is that we don't know how to start, how to just close our eyes and let something dance between our hearts and lips…" This is the first of many quotes from poet Stuart Kestenbaum. Other poets - Rilke, Herbert, Tagliabue, Whitman, and the aforementioned Gerard Manley Hopkins, are included with familiar verse.
The reader / viewer is left with the impression that prayers - no matter who wrote them - have a commonality, and that is mankind giving thanks. This work containing inspirational words is also aesthetically pleasing, a pleasure to read (no matter how incomplete the texts appear) and view. Item #11372

Price: $900.00

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