:: pinned ::
.pinned. Words and images by Sonja Benskin Mesher.
20/20 Vision, 2017. ISBN 978-1-907449-01-7
Sonja Benskin Mesher, despite her exotic name, is a British artist, born in Bournemouth and now based in Dolgellau. Although best-known as a visual artist, she has been writing for many years (she calls herself “a painter who writes, an author that paints”) and this small, attractive volume represents the first of her works to be printed in book form.
She does not call them “poems”, but “words”, and indeed that is how they are arranged.
Small objects – pins, thread and buttons – hold the collection together in metaphorical terms. This is no random arrangement, although at times the sparsely-arranged words almost dwarf the miniature images. Yet this is fitting.
It is apt, too, that the work is published by another artist, Swansea-based photographer Rhys Jones, who set up the 20/20 Vision imprint as a means of collaborating with other creative spirits to produce “media books” that combine poetry, prose and photographs to memorable effect.
Mesher experiments with language, fitting Latin terms and shreds of conversation into a fragment of her life story: brief memories of the shell-shocked uncle, the child, the lover, the collector, the fashion-conscious, the departed. The analogy between stitching a cross and drawing a kiss is simple enough, but it touches the reader’s imagination without impinging on our psyche. This sounds to me like someone else’s life, not mine.
The theme of communication and connection is subtly conveyed, perhaps too subtly for the average reader, yet I think there is no deep desire to tell the story fully, only to hint at it.
Sonja Benskin Mesher – her own name – becomes a mere abbreviation as she mentions a dead friend. The words stand apart on the page, sometimes in line, sometimes hiding at opposite ends.
The form of the book makes me think of an echo or a shadow. To purchase it is like owning a print of an oil painting; you can possess a small work of art to look at and enjoy whenever you want.
Reviewer – Deborah Fisher is a writer based in the Vale of Glamorgan, best known for her popular history books such as “Royal Wales” (University of Wales Press, 2010).
New hard back book of words and images
(published by 20/20 Vision Media Publishing).
£14.99 direct from the publisher – email firstname.lastname@example.org
The publisher, Rhys Jones, is a new independent publisher. He started 20/20 Vision Publishing to support artists and writers in particular. He is a freelance photographer and NUJ Press Pass holder.
Email : email@example.com
You can get Sonja’s book as one of the “perks” on the crowd-funding page:
Thanks to Paul Brookes, fellow writer, support and mentor.
The blue book arrived tied with frayed white ribbon, like a gift. You have to unwrap it, or ease the tied ribbon off the glossy cover. The only capital letters in the book are on the flyleaf where it begins “I am a painter who writes…” and later “I have worked full time as an artist since 1999..” and ” Quite patient, hold my tongue” and finally “It is not all you see on the surface…” The books title is ‘.pinned.” as if the full stop operates as a device to pin out the word like stitches.
Opening the pages there are words on one side and a photograph on the other. All the photos are slightly fuzzy and of parts of things. In the words she speaks of “stitches” being like crosses or kisses. It is a wonderful way of speaking of passion and hurt.
Both photos and words live…
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it should be a little book.
slight no rummaging.
each post a similar size. work
a long side. invisible
cover, waxed grey.
tied with string.