marlene mountain
letter essay
early 1990s


lots of stuff

dear isabella

How are things with you these days? I miss our occasional meetings in NC. It seems that we never do get a real chance to sit and talk. I'm hangin in. I still manage to get a painting series each year. For some reason I've moved from 20 - 40 small paintings in each series to a mad rush of larger and fewer paintings in a series just before a showing.

Do you know the NYC painter Lowell Nesbitt? He's the 'resident' judge for the MS Society art shows. When I exhibited some of the 'healing' and 'neolithic' series at the IBM gallery several years ago he said I was their 'find.' Recently he asked what I'd been painting lately and since I don't have slides of the last two series I made these 'books' for him. I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. (I've thought about doing the same with several of the other series but so far I've talked myself out of such madness.) People rarely have time anymore so don't feel you have to 'read' these. I've had a small copier in my living room for a couple of years but not one that easily does back and front. It has been very strange to me that I am just now getting to the place that I don't feel people raising their eyebrows or looking over my shoulder in my own house. How much 'we' self-censor and don't even know it is probably pretty awesome.

A few months ago I heard the director of the Pollock/Krasner Foundation speak at the 'City Club Forum.' He seemed to invite artists to apply for funds saying that after 5% were selected on merit they then narrowed it down to need. I assume that such a place--as with the MacArther foundation--looks to big-time artists. I'm wondering if you might know of any foundations looking for a person such as me to help out? If I ever did apply for a grant I'd have trouble selecting 6 - 10 slides as I have no 'style' (don't want one) per se. Each series has a relationship but none looks like another.

Friends say they can spot one of my paintings not by style but by obsessive content.
For a couple of years I've been gathering material for books of my haiku from c. 1968 to 1990. The first, from the mountain, will deal mainly with one-line haiku (touching on other approaches). It's quite an odd book as it also includes old letters, essays and lots of visual haiku ('tear outs'). Parts are rather embarrassing as they show some of the process, unedited letters and unedited haiku, etc. I've been annotating the pages; an overview which shows my old thinking in art and haiku and of course the change to 'women's content.'

The editor, Jane Reichhold in CA, sees 3 or 4 other books: one with more visual things, the love/hate relationship I have with haiku, the sequences, and perhaps one which will include some of my paintings with haiku, and without. She does a great job with other books on a large copier--which, however, is about to self-destruct. So we're looking around for another way to get them out and I'm hoping to find some financial support.

I have lots of stuff--some that could be gathered into small books for women's studies. Like the 'cross words,' 'mad earths,' 'womocreativa' and 'chaoscoswommos' series. The shetrillogy story with 'mad/up words' and 'wom words.'

Well, sometime drop me a note as to how and what you're doing these days. Or come for a visit.

from the mountain


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