Excision

George Steeves

Limited edition artist’s book. 

200 copies (100 were accepted into the collections of museum librairies

from Getty to the Prussian State Library Berlin)

Published by Studio George Steeves, Halifax, 2017

Designed by Robert Tombs, Ottawa

Printed by Lowe-Martin, Ottawa

Hardcover - Linen

9.25 x 9.25", 95 pages - illustrations and text (diaristic style), English

48 illustrations - Peinture à l'huile sur tirages photographiques / Oil paint on gelatin silver prints

ISBN 978-0-9959833-0-4 

30 $ (quelques exemplaires signés par l'artiste / few copies signed by the artist)

      

This is a recounting in words and photographs of love, a late-in-life marriage, and advanced cancer.

 

The events span less than two years, start to finish(2009-2010). 

Ingrid Jenkner and I, George Steeves, were firmly in love by early 2009. We met in the process of mounting an exhibition of my work at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, where Ingrid is director. At the time Ingrid was 53 and I was 65. Ingrid was a widow, having her lost spouse to a heart attack five years before. I had been living alone for the past eleven years. Both of us had two previous marriages. Our wedding took place on 23 December 2008 in Toronto in the presence of Ingrid's German parents. Each of us owned a house, Ingrid's in the country and mine in the city of Halifax. The shuttling between them was highly impractical. Ingrid sold her Lake Echo house and its contents. She and her cat moved in with me in July 2009. Five weeks later Ingrid was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. This narrative picks up at that point.

A compounding series of life collisions then almost simultaneously ensued.

Marrying late in life is risky, just because of the inevitable baggage and set ways carried by both parties. Sudden cohabitation after of solitude is steep climb. Lay on top of those anticipated difficulties a cancer diagnosis and the difficulties become almost overwhelming. Circumstances such as these understandably produce extreme behavior, for some of which no one is ever proud. There is no possible preparation for such a baptism of fire. Notwithstanding, this is a record of romance, of love, and of lust in the maelstrom of a cancer treatment that cheated death.

The photographs were made with purity documentary intentions at Ingrid's invitation. The harsh, sometimes cruel, raw images did not reflect my survivor's recollective sensibility. Only by over-painting them could I administer the necessary corrective. The paint is not intended to obscure; it tells the truth slant. The text is in a diaristic form because it is a slightly cleaned up version of minutely hand-printed annotations I made on a daily basis.

 

    Tell all the truth but tell it slant-

    Success in Circuit lies

    Too bright for our infirm Delight

    The Truth's superb surprise

    As Lightning to the Children eased

    With explanation kind

    The Truth must dazzle gradually

    Or every man be blind-

        - Emily Dickinson, #1263