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category: Poetry
published: Sep 2018
publisher: Talonbooks

The Eyelash and the Monochrome

by Tiziana La Melia

tagged: canadian, women authors, nature

Combining visuals and text, this collection of poems travels through territories as varied as daily and domestic activities; social relationships; literature, cinema, and art; as well as dreams, as it moves between the page and the exhibition.

The Eyelash and the Monochrome asks: what happens when material becomes thought and thought becomes object? At once a book of poetry and an artist’s book, it gathers together poems, performance scripts, and parallel texts, illustrating the hybrid nature of these texts and trespassing upon the boundaries of genre. It is a book about enmeshment, about the potentiality of interplay. It is a conversation. It is not linear, but it interrogates and explores the line: lines of text, lines of dialogue, socio-economic lines drawn or crossed, lines that were the trails of snails … Everything is a signifier, meaning is elastic, and references are multi-faceted. La Melia’s multivalent and generative practice lives in process; it thinks through materials (paint, objects, non-human forms) with violent sentimentality, excessive desire, naiveté, narrative construction, and an awareness of the body and memory.

This collection comes out of friendship; it is for other poets, artists, or for anyone interested in ecology, communication, contradiction, displacement, subjectivity, memory, art, reading, and writing. It is comfortably uncertain, contradictory, and reflective. In defiance of order, La Melia’s haptic writing is as a riddle inquiring after our environment and our attempts to situate ourselves within our uncertain time. The Eyelash and the Monochrome and Other Poems meshes conflicting modes of thinking to produce a collage of thought through the body, through the material, and through slippages of language.

“Vancouver-based La Melia was the winner of the 2014 RBC Canadian Painting Competition, but painting is just one of the mediums she employs. First and foremost, she is a poet” (Canadian Art).

About the Author

Tiziana La Melia

Contributor Notes

Born in Italy and currently living on unceded Coast Salish territories, Tiziana La Melia is the author of Oral Like Cloaks, Dialect: Selected Writing (Publication Studio, 2015), and the chapbook Broom Emotion (2012). Recent solo and collaborative presentations of her work include The pigeon looks for death in the space between the needle and the haystack, LECLERE Centfare d'art (Marseille, 2017); Broom Emotion, galerie anne baurrault (Paris, 2017); Innocence at Home, CSA (Vancouver, 2015); Johnny Suede, Damien and the Love Guru (Brussels, 2017). In 2014 she was a writer in residence at TPW Gallery (Toronto) and the winner of the 2014 RBC Painting Competition Prize.

Editorial Reviews

“The potentiality of interplay manifests in the exhibition title, The Eyelash and the Monochrome. The line, a cursor with connotations of femininity and luck, is adjoined to the blank canvas. Rather than painterly in reference, it implicates the presence of absence, spaces in which there is potential for new narratives to be created.” —Georgina Jackson, Director of Exhibitions & Publications, Mercer Union, Toronto

“Canadian poet Daphne Marlatt has written about “the active intelligence of language;” for La Melia there is no distinction between the different forms or objects, everything is a signifier. References are multi-faceted, from Greek tragedy, teenage obsession, the writings of Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Twain, or Yvonne Rainer, the personal and incidental, to female icons throughout history and in the present, pushing and pulling different directions. Writing is often the starting point, from poem to script to play. Poetry lines become the titles of visual-art pieces, transforming the written word into the physical space of the gallery, or walls become pages, unfolding narratives populated by objects and materials. The exhibition is a space in which hierarchies collapse, theater, poetry, writing, mythological female figures, personal narratives and popular culture are combined and meaning becomes elastic in form. Transmutability lingers throughout the work, in a photographic collage, Surface Instruction (2011), a worn apron becomes an over-sized handbag while a twin table with pink glass emerges and recedes as Janis Joplin’s rose-tinted glasses in Aquarium Club Console (Janis) (2014). And yet underlying, sometimes playful juxtapositions are historical instances and trajectories. Live snails drawing on plastic speaks to the use of their shells in making the color purple for women-only manuscripts, becoming in and of itself purple prose."—Georgina Jackson, Director of Exhibitions & Publications, Mercer Union, Toronto

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