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Frank Boyden: The Empathies Paperback – August 24, 2006

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This volume reproduces the complete suite of 96 drypoints in actual size (2 by 3 inches), together with an essay and notes by the artist, companion prose by Kim Stafford and David James Duncan, and a discussion between the artist, Julia D'Amario, Tom Prochaska, and Prudence Roberts.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University; First Edition; First Printing edition (August 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930957572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930957572
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 10 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,656,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a startling book of art and prose. Why startling? Alot of artists can do beautiful. Alot of artists can do ugly. Not very many can do both at once. Frank Boyden can.

Perhaps what most struck me about his prints was the way he created this paradox: left and right sides of the faces were very commonly incongruent. Sometimes when they were congruent a shaft of light disturbed that congruence into stereotypical ugliness. He used other tools: skinny, knobby fingers hiding an unseen pool of eyes or deformities or overgrown, bumpy noses with a tongue scatologically flicking out to clean warts or a sunken skull sided with a white and bald dull-eyed destitue or lumpy skin flagging on the frame-up as if the poor portrayed gentlewoman hadn't a skull to hold her head up.

His use of incongruence remains my favorite. I kept covering up half the picture on several to try and make these faces stereotypically beautiful. I whispered to them that if they would only...they really could be quite beautiful, you know, if only they tried.

The prose is a duo of a song. Kim Stafford's essay "The Long Sleep of Asia" covers the voice of a single picture, giving the voice of silence and empathy and wait and love.

David James Duncan is at first a whirlwind of essay then a parade of quotes. His essay is a clear hit, excellent in every way and his quotes are profound. The problem? The layout of those quotes make it difficult to pinpoint which voice belongs to which mouth. I began to play a board to book game of memory, shuffling the voices and the mouths to ownership (a real problem when like in drypoint 22 armor shutters the mouth and in 48 when the presence of a mouth is questionable). I found it endearing, but I'm biased about David Duncan.
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