Fragments of Sappho
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Works Before 1996
2005 Work 2013-2015 work merle mainelli poulton
1996 Work 2000 Work Fragments of Sappho
2006 Work  
1997 Work 2001 Work
The Aeneid Series
2007 Work  
1998 Work 2002 Work
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1999 Work 2003 Work
Sculptural Work
2011 work
  This new body of work is experimental and has been an ongoing labor of love for the past eight years. This new series focus is formally on the painting process and the corporeal and personified nature of paint, including paint that never makes it onto the canvas.  
 
Fragments of Sappho
 

Supported by wooden frames, ancient wax tablets were the first 'blackboards'; words were hand-scribed into wax. When heated, the words melted away and the tablet could be used again. Very few remain intact today. Traditionally, the tablets were grouped together to form a book.

Sappho, a 7th century BCE poet has been described as: many-minded, wordsmith, tale-weaver, charmer of impossibilities, and definer of the symptoms of desire. David Campbell notes, "Indeed the most amazing characteristics of the divine Sappho is that she uses with charm a device that is of itself hazardous and difficult." In Hellenistic times she was acclaimed as "the tenth Muse".
Much of her work is lost. Miraculously, a series of emotionally charged fragments remain.

To view individual larger works, please click on the sample images below. There will be 17 tablets total completed in 2011.
Sappho Fragment 184-188
Sappho Fragment 138 Sappho Fragment 104B
Fragment #138
 
Fragment #104B
Fragment #184-188
Wax Tablets as Paintings
The Fragments of Sappho series is a new translation of selected fragments of Sappho's work. Considerations of meter and poetic content juxtaposed with paint fragments from past painting palettes make up these visually charged tablets. Tediously prepared, the actual encaustic wax pour was immediate with minimal control. The end result happened on its own accord. Many paint fragments were inadvertently buried during the pour, poetically mimicking the work that they represent. The paintbrush, an artist's marking tool, holds the tablets together and stands at attention as muse.
Sappho Fragment 130
Sappho Fragment 156   Sappho Fragment 146  
Fragment #156
Fragment #130
Fragment #146
Sappho Fragment 51   Sappho Fragment 52   Sappho Fragment 63  
Fragment #63
 
Fragment #51
 
Fragment #52
   
installtion view of sappho exhibtion
   
  Exhibition of work at AS220, Providence, RI January 9-29, 2011
Providence Journal Write Up: Click here to view
 
 
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