Bough Down by Karen Green
review by Ariane Fairlie
Bough Down by Karen Green deals with the suicide of her husband, the well-known contemporary American writer, David Foster Wallace.
The book is text based; even the collage portions incorporate a great deal of words. The story transitions seamlessly between textual, visual, and back. Green creates a cross between poetry and art book using a minimalist aesthetic. She collages fragments, traces, obscured words and half sentences combined with images of fingerprints, trees, and indecipherable marks.
The collages themselves are very small, and require the reader to focus in on them with the same concentration required for the poetry. Her artwork is subtle and concise, sometimes complementing her poetry and sometimes expressing a distinct moment or thought. The blank page becomes a point of interest, providing moments of contemplation in between intense emotions.
It should be noted that the book itself is elegantly crafted with velvet paper and the title inscribed roughly in graphite on vellum, covering collaged text beneath.
Green transports the reader to a shrouded realm where text and collage meld together fluently, and seeds of fragile emotion blossom in the soft blank space of the paper.
The book speaks not only to vulnerability, but also to distance, frustration and with a raw humour. It is an incredible and humble grapple with death and the continuation of life afterward.
by Karen Green
56 colour illustrations, hard cover
7.75”x5.75”, 188 pages, $36.00
Siglio, Los Angeles, California, 2013