|Charlotte Segal, Margaret Rozga
mixed media folding screen on
48" x 96"
You wonder how to start,
when and where to conclude,
and I wonder
how to get across.
Will the cherry blossom?
The mountain stream?
The crane fold,
When is the beginning?
Where is the transition?
What word to spare?
You can talk
beginning middle end
if you want, but really
it’s a foreign language
I don’t speak.
Inside and outside
with the same wall. Layers,
curtains, what’s behind doors,
mountains and what’s beneath them,
even our blossoming love
our imagined future, our ancestral village
pulse within a weave of power,
not our doing, a fact you
as if we create our own warmth
as if we invent our ability to see.
Something about the intransigence
of mountains, the wingedness of birds
Unwavering crane transplanted from myth
Ephemeral mountains already ungrounded
fold into flight.
Tree times tree times tree: tree, woods, forest.
Nine swings, kicks, out. Energy toes in.
Mountain: a haiku turned on its side.
A barren square for mouth, spare saying.
Twice divided rectangle for eye.
What we see: no four square of rice field.
Something more complex and much simpler.
Earlier. Later. Contemporary.
Straight and oblique, sometimes obscure, lines.
Artist Charlotte Segal and Poet Margaret Rozga
Our earliest conversations revealed a mutual interest in Japan, a place we both visited several times,
Segal to paint, Rozga to visit her daughter. We then identified images likely to be part of the collaborative
work: cranes, cherry blossoms, mountains. Haiku seemed a logical poetic form for the Japanese theme.
A brief poem seemed to offer more ways to incorporate text into a painting without obstructing the power
of the visual image.
Further discussion led to deeper sense both of the subject matter and of transformation through
collaboration. We wanted our work to show that creative drive may surface in word or in image or in both.
It may take shape in English or in Japanese, in a crane, a cherry blossom, or a mountain. Thus we decided
on a four panel screen. The four visual sides and four verbal sides embody our sense of the deep energy
of collaboration taking various forms as it surfaces. Neither word nor image dominates; they are back to
back, two sides of the same underlying creative power.
The reflective painted images show an Asian influence in the use of ponds, blossoms, and crane. The text
presents sections of a companion poem together with characters cut from indigo dye fabric Segal brought
home from Japan. The characters include numbers important to the composition, especially nine. Other
characters symbolize stone, mountain, trees, rice fields, blossoms, and power. They are collaged onto the
panels near where the poetic lines reference these terms.
|Detail of text side of screen