These untitled paintings, never before reproduced in print or any other medium, should help give added depth to d.a.levy's work. Most of his printed work had to be reproduced in black and white. A couple book covers make an exception to that limitation. On one hand, if levy had the option to work in color, his sense of urgency and at times his parodies of print may have kept him working in monochrome. On the other hand, some of his collages, as he pasted them up, were done in color, and what we see in black and white simply reflects the printing technique he had to use. Had he lived long enough to either work in polychrome printing techniques or to move his outlaw press onto the web, a lot of his collages would have appeared in color. Even in the monochrome works, levy paid careful attention to the color of the paper he used, even when that was newsprint or liberated office paper. In some of the lexical poems presented in straight html, I chose background colors that suggested papers levy used.
Ingrid Swanberg has had the first painting on her wall for many years. She says that it's a strange painting. It has a completely different quality in the diffused light indoors than it has outside, in direct sunlight. Even looking at the small and larger reproductions here, you can see how it may sometimes appear flat, but can also create a sense of volume; how it can at times look dark and at others considerably lighter. A couple book covers show levy's penchant for greens and blues. The large egg shape may seem to hold some of the subsidiary strokes inside it, or to remain flat. Most interesting to me, the light squibs that make a sort of crown at the top of the egg shape have upper and lower mirror images. These make up lights shooting out of darkness, but in this case, the light isn't white and the darkness isn't black. Whatever levy was or wasn't, he was emphatically not simple.
The other two are ink-paintings on glossy paper. The inks and the size (8 ½ x 11) suggest a carry-over from mimeo work. To me, one of the most interesting aspects of these paintings comes from the way colors, particularly red, bleed into or out of black, on a white ground.
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Text copyright © 1998 by Karl Young.
Images copyright © 1998 by Ghost Pony Press.
This is a cooperative presentation of
Ghost Pony, Kaldron On-Line and
Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry.