Sabachthani: Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Margaret Evangeline, essay by Dominique Nahas, poems by Julie Fontenot Landry and Jonathan Goodman. Charta (D.A.P., dist.), $29.95 (88p) ISBN 978-88-8158-848-0
This elegant, spare art book pairs black-and-white plates of two recent sculptural works with poems about grief, faith, and doubt during wartime. In 2011, Evangeline sent 20 aluminum bars to her son, who was completing his deployment in Iraq. He then recruited two soldiers to shoot the metal strips with their guns, creating punctures and puckers where the bullets passed through. The result was The Stations, a visual representation of the violence of war and the steadfastness of the families that keep vigil when loved ones are at risk. A second series, Stabat Mater, features metal panels printed with press photographs from the turbulent 1960s, pierced with bullets so that the iconic images of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. are savagely distorted. The art and poetry included in the book is linked by the dolorous title, taken from Jesus’s plaintive cry upon the cross: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Examining religious and secular faith, Evangeline works through her disquietude by finding succor in her art. As she writes, “In a poem of white steel,/ Lining my studio walls/ With braille-wounds.../ Your fingertips/ See what is/ Impossible to see,// Feel what is/ Impossible to say...” 35 images. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012