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Columns by Artists and Writers

Bob Black / bq / Cem Turgay /

Fiona Smyth / Gary Michael Dault /

Holly Lee / Kai Chan / Ngan Chun-tung

/ Shelley Savor / Tamara Chatterjee

/ Wilson Tsang / + A Path in the

Garden: A Conversation between

Yam Lau and Susan Rowe Harrison

MONDAY ARTPOST published on Mondays. Columns by Artists and Writers. All Right Reserved. Published since 2002.

An Ocean and Pounds publication. ISSN 1918-6991. email to: mail@oceanpounds.com

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Poem a Week

Gary Michael Dault

A Walk in the Woods

(Remembering Earle Birney)

at first mollified

by the wilderness

across a drubbing

of stones

we walked the woods

in an ornamental sunlight

the line of the trees

wrapped everywhere like a grey

muffler, its eyelets

blinking out solitude

our eyes

sharp with pine,

we allowed ourselves

an uphill alliance

with thin stretches of sky

until its endless blueness

fixed us like rain

what was hurtful before

condensed into innocence:

the wound of a fire

a moment or two of resinous sleep

before rejoining

the insolence of forest

Caffeine Reveries

Shelley Savor

Rain Shelter

Everything went quiet for a while, things were alternately restful and terrifying,

pandemics can do that to communities. It was easy to notice nature, the skies were

clearer, wildlife took over the streets, the earth was breathing easier, all while a

deadly virus loomed. There is always a threat to disturb the balance of things,

however the threat is caused.

The weight of worry was heavy, so I looked up. Constantly moving shapes and

colours; blue, grey, rain, snow - clouds are busy. The sky continually inhaling and


I looked down. Dirt, soil, mud, leaves, mushrooms, the universe of mycelium

beneath our feet silently keeping the earth alive. The earth breathing.

Mushrooms and clouds holding everything together.

These sculptures, drawings and collages were made over the past few years during

the pandemic. Nature provided an inspiring refuge from anxiety.

Threats of global warming, nuclear annihilation, pollution, viruses, war - us humans

have a bad track record. Look up, look down, breathe in, breathe out.

Mushrooms and clouds (but no mushroom clouds).

(Shelley Savor)

Mushrooms and Clouds (but

no Mushroom Clouds)

Paperback Edition

56 pages, 8”x10”, perfect bound.

Published by OCEAN POUNDS.

Order paperback edition at BLURB (CAN$35):


ebook (US$5.00), pdf download. Bonus: access code for read-on-line edition


This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition Mushrooms and

Clouds (but no Mushroom Clouds), held at 50 Gladstone Avenue artsalon in

Toronto, October 1-29, 2022.


Holly Lee

1.Extinct and Endangered: Insects in Peril


(YouTube 7:07)

2. Watch Levon Biss’s TED talk on the Microsculpture series

Scroll down to Ted talk (vimeo 7:40)


Leaving Taichung


Bob Black

Cicadas in the Garden



in the morning, our tongues opened to the sun

awoke and tumbling, we tripped over our shadows in the corner of the kitchen

love providential

and the sun as loud as the artillery explosions constellating the countryside

and the sound of your heart at run

“It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream.”

Nostalgia that twinned-way heart journey,

breaking and healing over the train clacking

of touch and story

and hope horizontal sifting slightly, left

Twinned and beleaguered your beloved

as near this long-lost coming toward,

rhyming, always rhyming

“It seems to me you are trying to crack open a dream.”

a dolphin chirping next to a boat, suddenly

a dorsal rainbow over a cruise ship locked in a Charleston dock,

Pollyanna tucked in for the night, thin out from the carnival’s dancing

and in the morning, cicadas in the garden singing

bright bars of tune-measure that fall upon us like timbre tiptoed and light

the thin, cinnamon light.



there you go rhyming once again the scribbles of life

humming yourself into stanza and meter, even amid grief

that line that encircles the kitchen shadows and holds each of us in place,

the outline that brings the color taken and chalked behind your stepping

passing palimpsests lit up on the wall of the bedroom at night, the passing

traffic and transportation lights swaying up the corner

rapping up the quotidian and softened bodies in the grind of night--

the absences, their infinite shells, the jewel in the net, the lotus and the lore

the lair filled by dragon stone and dream

her demands and his awkward commands

and in the morning all that which slid under our eyes and coiled our heads left written

on our heart-bones all along


“I am waiting.”

So we write that upon the scars of the river and the apples into bottles strung from a tree on the hill

turned recalled memory into Calvados, fallen upon the shy shadows imprinted in the waiting grass,

underneath us, here


our names tributaries in the country of the country of the landscape at night


and again, recall

our tongues open to the sun, long round the red and rung mountainous air, a tram gambols at the

pace of loss and you turn toward the east where the peninsula buckles from your pivot

the lighthouse and sentry still in their encampment over the Cape, the birds song your name over

the dunes of Hatteras, beaking rhyme and rotor and we stood among the away

and trading tempers takes us wingward, along and alone the Ambergris hour the trains distant

the cicadas in the garden singing long and our tongues open to the light

touching us once again at angles

peculiar and unlocked, our hearts held just long enough

and the chorus of the grass and your small hands untying secrets of our life unscramble and


for: Chiwan Choi


Kai Chan


ink, pastel on paper

From the Notebooks


Gary Michael Dault

Number 155: Studies of Cezanne and Renoir (May 21, 2012)


Wilson Tsang



bq 不 清

無 題


既 然 我 已 經 花 了 足 夠 的 時 間 以

最 終 無 法 完 全 任 何 事 情 , 那 我 還 有 什 麼

工 作 可 以 做 呢 ? 在 紙 張 上

三 角 形 重 複 又 重 複 地

被 速 繪 , 以 至 有 一 天 它 們 能 成 為

高 山 。 以 往 富 士 山 極 具 代 表 性 , 可 是 它

並 沒 有 在 群 山 之 中 最 高 的 額 菲 爾 士 峰

著 名 。 它 熱 愛 天 空

和 渴 望 了 解 斑 頭 雁 的 秘 密 。

Now that I have spent enough time to

End up not completing anything, what else

Is there left to do? On paper,

Triangles had been sketched over and

Over again, so one day they might become

Mountains. Mount Fuji was iconic, but it wasn’t

As well known as Everest, the tallest

Among all of them, who longed for the sky,

And the secrets of bar-headed geese.

這 將 會 又 是 一 個 緩 慢 的 過 程 , 不 同 的 是

這 次 你 將 被 迫 不 用 圓 規 以 遊 蕩 出 一 個 完 美 的

圓 形 , 而 所 有 人 最 終 還 是 會 抱 怨

It will again be a slow process except this time

You will be forced to dawdle a perfect circle without a

Compass and yet everyone will end up whining,

「 這 怎 像 一 個 圓 形 !」

“It doesn’t look like a circle!”

也 許 我 的 手 指 不 懂

靈 巧 地 活 用 鉛 筆 , 但 我 更 傾 向

認 為 其 問 題 出 自 他 們 觀 點 的 錯 位

不 懂 得 像 這 些 候 鳥 那 樣 明 白

偶 爾 遠 走 恰 好 的 距 離 才 能 夠

在 這 個 清 涼 的 秋 夜 從 高 處 看 看 這 個 世 界

也 看 看 月 球

Perhaps it has to do with my poor

Dexterity with pencils, but I prefer to

Think that it is their misplaced perspectives,

Not viewing this world from above

like these migratory birds, who know to go

Just far enough sometimes, to also see the moon

In this cool autumn night.


Fiona Smyth


Cem Turgay

Travelling Palm


Tamara Chatterjee

Canada (September, 2022) – Between budgets

and bylaws; rushing around to grab lunch, a

passing glimpse caught my eye. A moment

of temporary suspension, of reflection, of

realization. The scatter of multiple timelines

and numerous projects ceased for a brief

interlude. She smiled – I smiled, she resumed

her task and I returned to contemplating

lunch while admiring the circus skilled


Yesterday Hong Kong

Ngan Chun Tung

Queen’s Road West (1953)

8x10 inch, gelatin siver photograph printed in the nineties

Edition 2/50, signed and titled on verso

From the collection of Lee Ka-sing and Holly Lee

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A Path in the Garden:

A Conversation between

Yam Lau and Susan

Rowe Harrison

Weather Report: Susan Rowe Harrison

September 17 – December 17, 2022

YYZ Artists’ Outlet

140-401 Richmond St. West


Hours: Wed to Sat, 12 to 5 pm.


A Path in the Garden: A Conversation between Yam Lau and Susan Rowe Harrison

model, garden, mirror

Yam Lau: Let us recall the lovely afternoon when we viewed the delicate model you made for the

present exhibition at the YYZ Artists’ Outlet. You had casually placed the model (of a garden?) in a

garden, amidst the plants at the Spring Wind Buddhist Farm in upstate New York. Our conversation

unfolded around this scenario. Incidentally, I find gardens enchanting because they are models

of sorts. The garden is where the micro and macro entangle, and the question of scale is made

inherently dynamic. This aspect of the garden presents an endless fascination, and it is especially

inspiring for artistic creation. I think of the art of Bonsai. Placing these concerns alongside the

themes of ecology and transformation in your work, I would like to juxtapose your model with a

powerful Buddhist metaphor, the Jewel net of Indra. In Indra’s net, the question of dimensionality and

universal interdependence are cogently integrated. I think of this metaphor, with all its splendour,

as a conceptual garden of some sort, a garden of deep ecology, insubstantiality, and infinite

transformation. I wonder if you would reflect on this juxtaposition a bit.

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net that has been hung by

some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance

with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of

the net, and since the net itself is infinite in all dimensions, the jewels are infinite in number. There

hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now

arbitrarily select one of

these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there

are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels

reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting

process occurring.

Susan Rowe Harrison: Yam, I like this metaphor very much. While we don’t see the mirror in the

model in the garden, the mirror (on the model’s floor) completes the analogy; the garden is reflected

into infinity or some expression of infinity. And I love the model placed in the garden where the

concept of the garden becomes the garden, and the garden becomes the concept of the garden

growing into one another. This is the idea of universal interdependence—we don’t have the model of

the garden and the garden; the garden model is the garden. We don’t have the garden and nature–the

garden is nature. And, in nature–we do not have “us” and the environment. We are the environment.

To not take care of nature is to not take care of us. The garden is a glittering jewel in the net of


The idea for the mirror came from Monet’s garden–that image you always see when you search for his

garden online–the plants and the bridge all reflected in the pond below. I wanted a “reflecting pool”

so that the “nature” in my installation would be reflected in the space, as would we—implicating us

in a garden that portrays an ecosystem as it grows and falls apart–to see ourselves in it.

YL: “the garden model is the garden…”. this is beautiful. I can relate to your love of (Monet’s) pond

and its reflective qualities. The pond is a quiet agent. It receives and binds the distinct elements

within the environment on its illusive surface. The pond releases the weight from things, allowing

their virtual imprints to trace temporarily on its surface. I imagine the efficacy of the mirrored flooras-pond

in the YYZ installation. The fictional garden on the wall will be projected into yet another

fictional, perhaps virtual dimension in the mirror/pond. I imagine these two registers, the fictional

and the virtual, are probably reversible. Enfolded in a supplementary dynamic, one cannot claim

more reality than the other.

Here in The Buddhist farm, the night is populated by fireflies. I enjoy their company while sitting

under the stars. They bring the stars near; I imagine the stars are the fireflies, the fireflies are stars.

They became reversible realities. I would like to share a story by the Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi.

Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents

and purposes, a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was

Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether

I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a

man. Between a man and a butterfly, there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the

transformation of material things.”

From the graphical to the environmental

YL: In our discussion, we agreed that climate change and related calamities need not conclude

in total destruction. While species extinction, including the human species, presents imminent

challenges, the narrative in your graphical garden suggests a different frame of reference than the

anthropocene, a term you indicated as limiting. It appears that your “garden” is a perpetually selfgenerating

process, one that demonstrates agency and finds expressions in the unforeseen.

SRH: I don’t feel that this process will be purely dystopian. In terms of plant life, some plants will

spectacularly thrive early–too prematurely for the species that depend on them–some will die off,

and some will mutate and change–rupturing this web of interdependency. But how will this process

change things–will the earth adapt, and what will this look like? How do you move the viewer to

care? The beauty of the work is the hook. Or the hope?

from the book form to architectural form

YL: We spoke about the book works by Bruno Munari. I think your model could be a kind of

“children” book, with the “pages as planes” folded into an architectural enclosure. The scale of

these pages can be comfortably handled by hand. I think you can make a book work out of it. By

“children”, I refer not so much to a specific developmental stage as to the tribe of tender, curious,

and innocent souls at every stage of life. I expect the large installation will preserve these beautiful

and magical qualities but differently. I like the inherent scalability of this work.

SRH: I love Bruno Munari’s books, though I am not familiar with all of them. I’m a big fan of his book

Square Circle and Triangle. We both share an interest in visual communication and solid graphic


I can see the comparison between my model and a children’s book or illustration. Especially since it

is small enough to hold in your hands and it looks like a crude mock-up for a book, but I don’t see it

that way. Primarily because I made it as a scale model of Z gallery at YYZ, I see it in service to the

installation. It is a playground for the work I am making and an efficient way to plan an exhibit.

This form allowed me to work on the corners of the installation, which I didn’t want to go

unconsidered. The corners can connect or break up images, changing the rhythm of the artwork in the

space. I often find the nooks and crannies filled with potential. The details are crucial to the whole


I think the installation, once completed, will feel close to the model, but I want anyone who sees it to

become a part of it–which is where I think the scale comes in. You are in the artwork’s environment

rather than holding it in your hands–you live in it rather than carry it–It is a metaphor for the state of

our environment. I hope that the work retains its magical qualities but also its scary ones.

YL: These are interesting thoughts on edges and corners. Corners are architectural folds. They

facilitate transitions and interruptions. I imagine the installation at YYZ as a continuous sequence

of images surrounding the space. But it can also be experienced as composed of individual tableaus

whose edges align with sections of the architecture. The two orientations act simultaneously on the

space and the viewer. The corners, by default, naturally introduce changes and interruptions to the


SRH: The corners are challenging. Where do you put images so that they retain their importance?

I want the walls to appear continuous, but the corners assert themselves. Not acting on them is a

missed opportunity. I continue the story across the folds on to the next panel and work with the bends

and turns to continue the image or start a new one or, both.

In a sense, there is no beginning or end to the work. I imagined it beginning on the super-lush and

colorful panel and ending on the colorless one where everything in the world dries up, but it could

start there. This is where the viewer can control the story. This is where it is not a book.

Scale and perspective

YL: The play of scale and perspective between the model and the installation is fascinating. For the

installation, the plants become giant and their scale architectural. They project a sense of wonder

with their enormous graphical presence. They dwarf the viewer and invite her to assume the position

of an insect, a cohabitant with the plants. This conceit is used in Chinese Bonsai presentation.

Miniature figurines in classical costumes are placed in the bonsai pot. They serve as proxies of

sorts. They invite the connoisseur to project herself (through them) into a dreamlike world of varied

dimensionalities. I feel the bonsai is transformed from being a “scale model” to a world of wonder. It

is both small and large. Looking at a bonsai, I know we occupy the same space. But I also know we

are not in the same world. It requires imagination to get there. These proxy figurines facilitate that

projection and transportation.

Can you talk about cutting the vinyl for the model and cutting directly in a large scale for the

installation? I am curious to see how the scale of your body and the difference in physicality are

registered in the cut edges in both cases.

But there is also so much flexibility—this does not have to be exactly like the model. The model—

the study—can be a trap, so I let go a little. I try to make it right for the work. I don’t want to miss the

beautiful accidents that can happen. When your pencil or X-ACTO knife slips, you feel different one

day; you install the parts in reverse, there is an electrical outlet in the way, or you correct something

that you never liked in the first place. When I struggle with the size of the pieces and getting the

shapes right, I use a projector and draw the forms on the wall. I know I can digitize the model, use

a mechanical plotter/cutter, or work with a graphic studio, but I don’t. I am never as happy with the


YL: Thank you Susan, for this conversation. It is like a path into the garden. There is much in the

work that is like you. The garden perhaps, is in the heart.

SRH: Thank you Yam. I had fun.


YAM LAU is an artist and writer based in Toronto; he is currently an Associate Professor at York

University. Lau’s creative work explores new expressions and qualities of space, time and the image.

SUSAN ROWE HARRISON utilizes painting, drawing, ceramics, and large-scale site-based work to

explore her fascination for natural environments and our relationship to them. Rowe Harrison studied

painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (1990-1991). She

currently lives and works in New York.

SRH: Yam, cutting the vinyl for the model is very different. It is the concept process, so it is much

freer. The model was my place to figure out how to communicate my idea–how to depict climate

change. What would it look like? How would I make it?

Working small is less physical than working large–I can sit in a chair and don’t have endless steps up

and down a ladder–there is no reaching or working with large swaths of unwieldy and sticky material.

It is physically easier and I can work faster.

Line quality and edges have always been important to me, and this is much easier to achieve on a

smaller scale. When I move to a large scale, I create ratios of the model to actual space to estimate

the general size of the elements of my final artwork. I cut the vinyl to size and, tape it to the wall so

that I can draw while looking at reference drawings or the model itself. As I scale up, I don’t want to

lose the litheness, the movement, or the dried-up, frozen quality. But to do this is on a large scale is

more complicated. There is a dance to creating–you use your entire body to stretch and reach to draw

at your height or larger. That movement in the work creates palpable energy—its spirit.

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