Diane Gage is a writer, artist and Expressive Arts Counselor. Born in Montana and educated in literature and language in North Carolina (Duke, MA) and Arizona (ASU, PhD), she is also a graduate of the Expressive Arts Institute and the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Her visual art has been shown both locally and in Europe. As her work in both literary and visual art evolved over time, she became increasingly interested in the use of art materials and processes for transformative purposes. This eventually led to her association with the Expressive Arts community based in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, which adapts art processes to individual and collective development.
Mom’s Nuke was her first large-scale work of transformative art, which eventually involved many people in art-making and ritual events, as well as manifesting as installations and a publication. The processes allowed participants to explore their personal connection to large national issues, such as nuclear power, weapons & waste, and to consider through art how they relate to others regarding their roles as citizens.
Poetry is Diane Gage’s primary passion and she has published poems in various venues such as Rattapallax, Seattle Review, Puerto del Sol, Poeisis and the National Forum.
In the summer of 2002, Anne Mudge and I excavated a crack in a San Diego sidewalk in front of Hybrid Gallery in North Park. In the crack we planted and watered seeds. In the gallery, we installed a crack garden, consisting of a piece of cracked sidewalk planted with herbs and flowers.
Project Genesis Conversation Between AM & DG:
AM: How can we set about changing the way we write on the earth? People express their alienation from the land by living in sterile, concrete environments. Without the smell and feel of earth about them, not only do they not understand where their food comes from, but they have no way to know that death and decay are intrinsic parts of life and rebirth. What kind of mark on the land might be expansive, liberating, integrative?
DG: I find myself thinking of the development of human culture through two basic patterns, the nomadic and the settled. Urban settings combine both -- substituting the motorized vehicle for the horse, the concrete and asphalt jungle for plains and forests, the yard for the field and the grocery store for the silo and cellar.
AM: Instead of using tools that create regular marks, how about thinking in terms of seed broadcast vehicles, something based on organic/biological models, like microbes, insects, animals, wind...
DG: Or pedestrians? I like the idea and image of combining wanderer with planter. We could exploit cracks in the urban armor, plant gardens in bits of neglected urban space, invite walkers, at least, to relate to the earth under our feet, the ground of being.
AM: We can restore human scale to making marks on the land. A small step.
Walking In Birdland, a neighborhood in San Diego, is a project which has to do with being present, paying attention to the details of local reality. It’s a kind of spiritual art practice, or an artistic spiritual practice, that helps balance a life spent predominantly in abstraction and cyber realities. On daily walks I compose haiku-like poems about the neighborhood and the day, which eventually migrate into artist’s books. Haiku is a form of short poem that originated in Japan. Since Birdlland was built in the 50s, I use the 17-syllable format that characterized haiku in English mid-20th century. Click on View Gallery to see more of the poems, plus images of Birdland.
on a footlong twist
of birdseed five small chirping
yellow finches perch
toddler in a small
blue helmet runs 'til it falls
off. Do it again!
the house with the shrine
to the fallen Marine has
the cleanest autos
red sycamore leaves
little cold flames crackling on
autumn's darkened hearth
my neighbor throws nets
of light over her bushes
The Poetry OracleTM gives tarot readings. Seekers ask the oracle a question and then draw six color-coded cards from the Poem TarotTM deck. The six cards each contain one word, plus collaged images, that can be used to reflect an oracular poetic light on the question of the moment.
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