Thursday, November 11, 2010

Surrealism is back!

     For several days now, I've been reading, observing, looking at, eating with eyes ("serving it with greens"), the beautiful edition of The Hunting Of The Snark illustrated and designed by Mahendra Singh. I traveled with the crew of Snark-hunters, I backtracked to particular pages and pictures, and I'm progressively enjoying this mind-twisting and absolutely mysterious book.
     A lot of artists who defined themselves as surrealists, in fact, just substitute the concept of surrealism with dexterous juggling of random combination of descriptive images with the motto "The stranger, the better". This flat-thinking method produces tons of surreal-like "art" and misleads public from the proper understanding (feeling) of surrealism as a way of discovering the great mystery of the universe.
     Unlike many of modern artists, who confuse surreal vision and way of thinking, with the collage method of composing of visual material, Mahendra Singh is definitely one of the rare genuine surrealists. There is no wonder that he found a perfect match to apply his creativity in the Lewis Carroll's poem The Hunting Of The Snark.
     Graphic novel structure of the book; masterly pen-ink technique developed from vintage technique of engraved plates for illustrations of 19 century magazines; endless culture references and reflections; puzzling associations. All this creates a very special world, an athmosphere of "intellectual holidays" essential to Lewis Carroll's masterpiece.
     I congratulate all the admirers of Lewis Carroll creations with the new, such a "Carrollian" art project and I highly recommend it to all collectors as a "must have".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LCSNA meeting in New York Institute of Technology

It was a shiny and beautiful Autumn Saturday in New York City. Members of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America had gathered for the Fall 2010 meeting in the New York Institute of Technology. Among the speakers were the host (founding member and former LCSNA president) Edward Guiliano, writers Adam Gopnik, Carroll biographer Jenny Woolf,  author (and Alice Liddell relative) C.M. Rubin, LCSNA President Andrew Sellon, and artist Oleg Lipchenko.
Edward Guiliano and Adam Gopnik dedicated their speeches to the memory of the great Martin Gardner.
There were several book titles available for sale from authors Adam Gopnik, Jenny Woolf, C.M. Rubin, and illustrators Mahendra Singh and Oleg Lipchenko. All the authors and illustrators were there to sign their books. This time there were elections for the new officers of LCSNA, as well as the honoring of Andrew Sellon, whose work as the president and whose dedication to the Society is hard to overestimate. Our congratulations to new officers and thanks to Andrew Sellon.
Then there was a wonderful dinner at Josephina’s following the meeting, and then the most inexhaustible members, who had survived the day's packed agenda, gathered for a party at the friendly home of Janet Jurist.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

“It’s a Bo-o-o-o-o-o-o-tcher!”

  The assumption which states that “It’s a Boo-…” applies to Boots* seems to be plausible, but is based on written word “Boots”, still vocally “oo” means a long “u” and therefore in this case “Boots” has no priority over “Butcher”. It probably was indeed: “It’s a Bo-o-o-o-o-o-o-tcher!” I would rather believe in this interpretation, because in the poem, Butcher was described in great detail, and acted as one of the front characters, unlike Boots, who was just a “chorus member”. Actually, we even don’t know who Boots is at all.

*Larry Shaw The Baker Murder case, cit. by The Annotated Snark by Martin Gardner.  

The portrait of Butcher from the Oleg Lipchenko illustrations to the Hunting Of The Snark 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Winner of the 2009 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) announced the Winner of the 2009 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award*. It is:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko
ISBN 978-0-88776932-0
US $22.95 / CAN $24.99
All ages

“…Oleg Lipchenko has turned this classic story into a rich expression for both the youngest reader greeting Alice for the first time and those who remember reading the original Alice as children...Lipchenko’s illustrations are more than images on a page, they are a homage to the surreality and humour of Carroll’s text as well as a meticulously and brilliantly constructed vision of a longstanding tradition in children’s literature.” – Jury’s comments

* The Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award was established in 1985 following the death of Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver, one of Canada's pre-eminent book illustrators. In her will, Cleaver left a fund of $10,000 dollars for an award to be given annually in recognition of outstanding artistic talent in a Canadian picture book. The recipient receives a cheque for $1,000 dollars and a certificate.

The Cleaver Award is administered by a committee of three members of the Canadian section of the International Board on Books for Young People. The recipient is a Canadian illustrator of a picture book published in Canada in English or French during the previous calendar year. To be eligible, the book must be a first edition and contain original illustrations. All genres are considered: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, folk and fairy tales.