VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

Website for Vision Voice and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Course in Art and Creative Writing

Friday, April 15, 2011

Individual Projects

Work of Veronica Burris

Work of Erin Vaughan

The students are starting to present individual portfolios. These are works from their individual practice that have been informed by the collaborative class. We started with two visual artists and three writers: writers Richard Gaffin, Christian Koons, and Maegan Taylor (below), and visual artists Erin Vaughan and Veronica Burris (above).

from "Pieces":

The door was cracked for him; he let himself in. She was sitting in the kitchen. She looked sick. Her cheeks were wet.

"What is it," Russell asked.

"I need to show you something," she said.


"Ok," she said. "Don't freak out."


"Come here."


She walked him into the bathroom. "My stomach started cramping out of nowhere," she said. "I was too scared to call an ambulance."

On the sink was a baby's leg. From heel to thigh it was the size of an eggplant, and of a similar bruised shade.

He look at her. She covered her mouth with her hands.

"Where's the rest," he asked.

She shrugged, started shaking her head, and started crying again all at once.

"What does that mean," he asked.

"There wasn't any."

He looked back at the leg. The top of the thigh, where it would normally attach, was covered by smooth skin. It looked like it grew as an independent unit. Fully intent on becoming only what it was.

"I need you to take it," she said.


She looked at him.

"What the hell."

"I don't know!" she cried.

He looked back at the leg.

"I just--" She was trembling. "I can't."

Russell's mouth opened, but he hesitated. She was sniffling. He asked her, "Is it mine?"

"Yes," she said. "It's ours." He looked at her. "But, Russell," she said, "I'm sorry," she said. "I can't."

"Ok," he said. "Ok."

- Christian Koons



The icon of the Virgin Mary holds a small,

grown man we believe is Jesus. A full, whole man,

proportional to ten

times less than his mother. Her halo and his cross

are at odds and there is no quick-smile-loving

embrace between them.

He has outgrown his hand-holding mother, her

holy gilded-glow sparkles in the daylight and

he, full God and full man,

cannot sleep in a house with her permeating

body-light and she weeps, weeps, weeps at his bloodshot

eyes but not his bloodied

prayers. Still, to the incarnate God, to Jesus the

Nazarite, his mother, who would not leave him

to his Father's work, who

is surely not the woman-judge of Israel,

has not driven a tent-peg through the temple of

a breathing man, and is not

even the one who hides bits of apple in her

pocket for hungry children, is the woman who

grew her Creator and

birthed, from her fleshy-imperfect womb, our savior.

And now she has no body (but a brand-new soul)

and is dead, blind, rotting

in her stone-rolled-close tomb. But he is the body

and the bread, the good that died young. Happy are

those whom you love, Lord, Lord, Lord.

- Maegan Taylor


Here’s to the Blues and Greens

When the housemaids scrub the floors they get the spaces in between. I appreciate that about them—it’s hard to get good help these days, to find people who give a damn about doing the small things. Their names all blend into each other though; so do their faces, the dark Spanish features running together until I can’t tell one from another. I also have a guy who does the garden, tending the flowers and things. I don’t recall what exactly is in there, or the guy’s name either.

The house is empty tonight. It often is these days, since the kids moved out, taking their groups of friends and their oppressively cheerful music with them. They were all popular in high school. I wasn’t popular in high school, and neither was their mom—the gene must be recessive or something. I got the family male-pattern baldness instead, and they say that skips a generation too. Once, not long after my wife left, I came home from a business trip to find a full-on rager going on at the house, the red-cup kind that I thought existed primarily on movie screens. I remember standing on the front lawn, looking at the way the multi-faceted window in the front door diffused the light from inside the house, like a stained-glass window in a cathedral. I remember hearing the bass notes pound out from inside, as if in my absence the house had gotten a heartbeat and an adrenaline shot. I remember hearing the voices from inside the house, voices of strangers, a crowd taking up a space reserved for individuals.

- Richard Gaffin

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