Romoland, a postmodern event conjoining feminist artist Judith Palmer and novelist Ben Stoltzfus, uses twenty-five art works as generative surfaces for a series of dialogues between a man and a woman.
The images and the text explore the historical subjection of women by men, their deliverance through art, and the dismantling of cultural codes. Both texts foreground the voice of the Other as it manifests itself in the traces, lines, and cracks of speech—be they visual or verbal.
The arabesques of the woman’s sensibilities oppose the squares of man’s authority. Her art speaks and his text sees. Together, they unveil another space between the pictures and the text—the body of bliss and equality—in a way that is ironic, comic, and playful.
JUDITH PALMER is a printmaker whose work is in the tradition of Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Richard Diebenkorn. She explores the language of art and the process by which art’s sign-system communicates its message-line, texture, color and image. Palmer collects “found language”-numerals, words, sentences-from streets, walls, or waste paper and transfers their photo images onto zinc plates. She combines these elements with traditional, more rigid patterns and techniques of etching. The result is a dialectic, a movement back and forth between spontaneously flowing arabesques that represent energy, aggression and rebellion, and the rigid, straight lines of confinement and restriction. This combined language of spontaneity and restraint generates movement and tension between the different parts. Form becomes content.
BEN STOLTZFUS is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He is a novelist, translator, literary critic, and internationally recognized inter-arts scholar. He has published twelve monographs of literary criticism and received many awards: Fulbright, Camargo, Gradiva, Humanities, Creative Arts, and MLA. He has published six novels and two collections of short stories. He lives in Riverside, California with Judith Palmer, his wife.
Romoland's "originality lies ... in its gendered, multilayered, culturally allusive presentation of the compelling and complex encounter within and between picture and word." –Roch C. Smith, Professor Emeritus, French, UNC-Greensboro, American Book Review
"Romoland is an amazing collaboration between two artists: a woman and a man, a wife and a husband. The woman's visual strategy, in conjunction with the man's witty 'ecofeminist' text, plots the liberation of women—persistently and playfully." –Ai Ogasawara, Associate Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
"In this delightful work, received ideas about the separate domains of masculine and feminine, inner and outer, line and mass, visual and narrative art, ruler and ruled, master and servant are playfully and seriously inverted to reveal that our unconscious sexual coding of space, time and form is coming undone." –Juliet Flower MacCannell, author of The Hysteric's Guide to the Future Female Subject
"Echoes in Romoland can be traced to Surrealism's use of dreams and the unconscious to create art, to the playful disruptions of Dada, and to the Situationists' conception of art as pollitical performances of revolt. [It] appeal[s] to ... those interested in the relations between ... fiction and critical reflection on the nature and purposes of the arts." –Lynn A. Higgins, Edward Tuck Professor of French, Dartmouth College, The Comparatist
She is caught between his world and hers, between culture and nature, between quadruped and Cartesian logic, between straight, clear-cut male supremacy and the black, circular patterns of the unconscious.
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