Soviet Swimming Pool Art


I’m mesmerized by these swimmer images created by artist Maria Svarbova that are based on old Soviet photographs of swimming pools. A native of Slovakia, Svarbova’s human subjects become mechanisms in rigid composition. I find a cold comfort in her work. For more examples and information, see this post at Colossal by 



Begin to See: Photographers of Black Mountain College

Photo by Harry Callahan

Although Black Mountain College no longer exists, the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center continues to celebrate that unique community of artists in Asheville, NC. A current exhibit, Begin to See, features photography by artists who are best known in other media. The list includes: Josef Albers, Hazel Larsen Archer, Josef Breitenbach, Harry Callahan, Trude Guermonprez, Robert Haas, Clemens Kalischer, Barbara Morgan, Beaumont Newhall, Nancy Newhall, Andy Oates, Robert Rauschenberg, Aaron Siskind, Cy Twombly, Stan VanDerBeek, Susan Weil, and Jonathan Williams. If you’re in Asheville this spring, perhaps check out these related events, as well as the exhibition.



Maureen Drennan

Photographer Maureen Drennan was featured in a recent Huffington Post piece on artists repositioning themselves for the upcoming Trump presidency. I was moved by her strength and faith in the power of the artist.

“I believe the role of an artist is more important than ever and ideally should compel and challenge us to think in different ways. Artists can be powerful dissenters and transgressive to political and societal conventions.

Good art often comes from an uncomfortable place. While it can be painful to explore, the creation and consumption of such art can be very therapeutic. In such a divisive time that we live in, the hardest thing we can do is to show compassion to those in opposition to our beliefs.”

Although Drennan’s art does not read as perhaps obviously political, there is an immediacy and an unapologetic honesty that graces her portraits. She explains,

”I feel enormously privileged to be an artist and to have met and photographed such inspiring people. My goal is to deepen my understanding of other people’s experiences and share those stories with a wide audience. Stories and narrative foster empathy and compassion, something that is sorely needed during this contentious time of anti-immigrant rhetoric. My advice to fellow artists is to not be afraid to explore things that are uncomfortable.”

This year Conveyor Arts published a book of Drennan’s work, the sea that surrounds us, and it is currently in its second printing. Find out more about Maureen Drennan on her website. 

The Walkscapes of Benjamin Lowy


Using an iPhone and an app, Benjamin Lowy has created “Walkscapes” —single images that are compiled from 30-100 frames taken on a walk. Lowy says this about this new work: “We live in this time where we’re given these tools, and we all follow instructions to a tee. The digital world is so precise that there is no chance left to the photo gods. So I’m always trying to create space for that moment.” See more examples of his amazing work at National Geographic or on his website


My Daily Poetry Fix by Stefan Hengst

It happens to most creative people: one day Stefan Hengst found himself in a bit of a lull. In his effort to jump-start his creative process, he did a yearlong iPhone photography project that he called “My Daily Poetry Fix.” He collected snapshots he took with his phone each day and shared a few on Facebook  Soon patterns began to emerge, and the design elements that resonated in him became clear. It worked for him. Would it work for you?

Learn more about the Poetry Fix project on his site. 

Never Sorry by Vicki Dasilva

From Moco Art:

Vicki DaSilva uses tube lamps to create photography based on light graffiti. DaSilva uses this medium to create site-specific installations loaded with socio-political commentary. The single frame time exposure light paintings are made by moving the lamps either by hand or along tracks to create fields of light. Her current show of work, Reverb, features photos based in an abandoned silk factory. The photo above is in reference to the Chinese artist/activist, the pale yellow a nod to the Jasmine Revolution.

Find out more about the artist, Vicki DaSilva, here.

On the perilous effects of buried alien spacecraft by peter jay shippy

They told me, fetch the jawbreaker

They told me, take down the wash

They told me, any day now, any day

They told me, one book?—as good as another

They told me, ’til someone loses an eye

They told me, gravity is deafening

Nancy, they told me, Nancy with the laughing face

They told me, just flour water and sea salt

They told me sometimes a rave

They told me sometimes a dove

They told me, they told me

They told me, blow skyward

They told me, stars across the knife

by Peter Jay Shippy
published in Diode

photo by lastplak_artworks

Why I Am Not a Good Kisser by Mary Ruefle

Because I open my mouth too wide
Trying to take in the curtains behind us
And everything outside the window
Except the little black dog
Who does not like me
So at the last moment I shut my mouth.

Because Cipriano de Rore was not thinking
When he wrote his sacred and secular motets
Or there would be only one kind
And this affects my lips in terrible ways.

Because at the last minute I see a lemon
Sitting on a gravestone and that is a thing, a thing
That would appear impossible, and the kiss
Is already concluded in its entirety.

Because I learned everything about the beautiful
In a guide to the weather by Borin Van Loon, so
The nature of lenticular clouds and anticyclones
And several other things dovetail in my mind
& at once it strikes me what quality goes to form
A Good Kisser, especially at this moment, & which you
Possess so enormously—I mean when a man is capable
Of being in uncertainties, Mysteries & doubts without me
I am dreadfully afraid he will slip away
While my kiss is trying to think what to do.

Because I think you will try to read what is written
On my tongue and this causes me to interrupt with questions:
A red frock? Red stockings? And the rooster dead?
Dead of what?

Because of that other woman inside me who knows
How the red skirt and red stockings came into my mouth
But persists with the annoying questions
Leading to her genuine ignorance.

Because just when our teeth are ready to hide
I become a quisling and forget the election results
And industrial secrets leading to the manufacture
Of woolen ice cream cones, changing the futures
Of ice worms everywhere.

Can it be that even the greatest Kisser ever arrived
At his goal without putting aside numerous objections—

Because every kiss is like throwing a pair of doll eyes
Into the air and trying to follow them with your own—

However it may be, O for a life of Kisses
Instead of painting volcanoes!

Even if my kiss is like a paintbrush made from hairs.
Even if my kiss is squawroot, which is a scaly herb
Of the broomrape family parasitic on oaks.
Even if a sailor went to sea in me
To see what he could see in me
And all that he could see in me
Was the bottom of the deep dark sea in me.

Even though I know nothing can be gained by running
Screaming into the night, into the night like a mouth,
Into the mouth like a velvet movie theater
With planets painted on its ceiling
Where you will find me, your pod mate,
In some kind of beautiful trouble
Over moccasin stitch #3,
Which is required for my release.

by Mary Ruefle
published by Verse Daily

photo by ScribbleTextures via flickr

Cusp by Melanie Braverman

If the heron comes in low over the marshes, if it shadows the car as you drive
west toward the sea, breakwater holding the lip of the coming tide
at bay while the autumn sun cast one gold and pink sheen over the grasses
like a spell, like all the secrets you tell
yourself while driving; if the heron comes in low, great wings beating the air
slowly as a woman beats rugs on a line, having pulled them from the basement
readying the house for winter (it is a fine, warm day but she is not fooled,
having lived her whole life here she knows what’s just beyond the cusp
of October); if you stop the car and, getting out, watch the bird hover and dip
and disappear below the horizon of the tall grass, wait then, just wait:
before the sky loses its light for good, and your hands grow unusually chill
in the new air, the head of the heron will bob like a buoy back out of the grass
again, as if it had always been there, still as a road sign, and there
it will remain, unfazed, patient and voracious
in this splendid world.

by Melanie Braverman
from her book Red

Glossy Ibis - Cheyenne Bottoms

Photo by Anita, on flickr akr67042

Snowliloquy by Ben Mirov

I had a dream I was a satellite
and then I woke and I was
still a satellite. Signals shot through me
like birds in the dark. I was transmitting
something. Cubes of essence stolen
from the Moth Man. Snowflake after
snowflake like jellyfish drifting
through the void above a balcony in Brooklyn.
My friends in California, selling out
falling asleep, falling in love or out.
Loneliness is barely more
than nothingness. It’s Snowbody
touching your thigh in bed. Snowbody
chopping the peppers for the soup. Snowbody
calling your name from the control room
late one night. When Snowone is around
you think about them. Or you gauge
the rate of your disintegration. The exact
amount of detritus you’ll leave floating
through your friends. Maybe you fall
apart. Or you break off a shard
and send it to someone else.
A distant stranger taking off their mask.
No more transmissions for tonite.
Signed, Yours Truly, Ben Mirov.

by Ben Mirov
published in Absent Magazine

photo by throughtheloops via flickr