Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Artist Emily Patzner Tames Wallace Stevens' Blackbirds

A recent graduate of Kingston (NY) High School, Emily Patzner was the 2015 Ackerman Award Winner at the WAAM art gallery in Woodstock, NY. This fall she will be attending the Fashion Institute of Technology and majoring in fine art. Her mixed media series “6 Ways of Seeing a Blackbird” is based on the poem “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens. Each piece includes one stanza from the poem, illustrated like a page in a book. Says Patzner ‘”Blackbird” was my summer project last year, and it was more of a learning process than anything else at the time. As a student, I'm always trying to challenge myself to become familiar with new media and become a more versatile artist. By using one material I'm comfortable with (in this case, colored pencils) and experimenting with one that I had never used before (stencils and spray paint), I taught myself how to fix my mistakes and just make the piece work. I think it's an important lesson: to be fearless with your work.”

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
By Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,   
The only moving thing   
Was the eye of the blackbird.   

I was of three minds,   
Like a tree   
In which there are three blackbirds.   

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.   
It was a small part of the pantomime.   

A man and a woman   
Are one.   
A man and a woman and a blackbird   
Are one.   

I do not know which to prefer,   
The beauty of inflections   
Or the beauty of innuendoes,   
The blackbird whistling   
Or just after.   

Icicles filled the long window   
With barbaric glass.   
The shadow of the blackbird   
Crossed it, to and fro.   
The mood   
Traced in the shadow   
An indecipherable cause.   

O thin men of Haddam,   
Why do you imagine golden birds?   
Do you not see how the blackbird   
Walks around the feet   
Of the women about you?   

I know noble accents   
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;   
But I know, too,   
That the blackbird is involved   
In what I know.   

When the blackbird flew out of sight,   
It marked the edge   
Of one of many circles.   

At the sight of blackbirds   
Flying in a green light,   
Even the bawds of euphony   
Would cry out sharply.   

He rode over Connecticut   
In a glass coach.   
Once, a fear pierced him,   
In that he mistook   
The shadow of his equipage   
For blackbirds.   

The river is moving.   
The blackbird must be flying.   

It was evening all afternoon.   
It was snowing   
And it was going to snow.   
The blackbird sat   
In the cedar-limbs.

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