CARTER RATCLIFF is a poet and art critic who lives and works in Hudson, New York.
| Editor's Message
Long ago, Willem de Kooning and John Cage were sitting in one of the downtown cafeterias that New York artists used to frequent. Throwing a couple of packets of sugar on the table, Cage said, This could be art. De Koonings reply: No it couldnt.
Ariane Lopez-Huici takes many of her photographs in the studio, yet it wouldn’t be quite right to call her a studio photographer. Her oeuvre includes photographs taken on trips to Mali with her husband, the sculptor Alain Kirili, and a new series of images that emerged from their recent trip to Angkor Wat, in Cambodia.
Floating in this blue panorama are forms that look like chunks of limestone, though some look more like clouds hit hard by sunlight. Of course, this is just a first impression. The second impression is of forms that are neither clouds nor stones but unique to this setting and, for all their differences, united by a family resemblance.
| Critics Page
Simón Bolívar once said that all who serve the revolution plow the sea. The Surrealists, who presumed to teach the unconscious to be revolutionary, sailed the surface of a placid lake. For they had no sense of the unconscious, no feel for it.
Ariane Lopez-Huici is a photographer. Alain Kirili is a sculptor. Whether he makes them from solid chunks of iron or airy swirls of wire, his works are volumetric. Hers, of course, are flat. His are abstract, hers are figurative. As artists, then, they have nothing in commonnothing but their subject, which is the human body, and that gives them everything in common.
Thanks for having me over the other day to look at your new paintings. Its a great place! Not very many painters have an oblique view of the river to the west and in other directions a sky filled with high-rise buildings.
| Black Paintings
In Chapter 42 of Moby Dick, Ishmael arrives by apprehensive steps at a disquieting thought: the whiteness of the whale makes tangible the deathly void that lurks beneath the worlds appearances.
Both Vincent Katz and Carter Ratcliff have recently published new books: Katz’s Swimming Home (Nightboat Books) in May, and Ratcliff’s Tequila Mockingbird (Barrytown/Station Hill Press) in June. The two interviewed one another for the Rail on the subjects of poetry, novels, the audience, and the point of writing in the first place.