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Notes to Self

Marc Burckhardt’s Notes to Self

Recently, painter Marc Burckhardt has been in a deep “visual conversation” with literature—specifically, with Petrarch’s Triumphs, a sequence of poems from the Italian Renaissance in which Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Eternity each overcomes the other. Burckhardt first came across Triumphs nearly a year ago, while working on a series based on Dante’s Inferno. As he often does with literary works, he looked into their visual history, and in doing so found “a deep well of imagery—stuff I recognized through a kind of peripheral appreciation.” Since then, working between studios in Austin, Texas, and Bremen, Germany, he’s has been studying, sketching, crumpling sketches, starting over, and taking notes for a series of allegorical paintings that reflect his personal connection to Petrarch’s themes, to be included in an October show at Gallery Shoal Creek, in Austin, Texas.

Drawings of the twelve labors of Hercules, part of Tinti’s thematic map for her new novel.

Hannah Tinti’s Notes to Self

Tinti recognized herself in Barry’s portrait of the lapsed artist. “I took her lecture to heart,” she says, and decided to commit herself to doodling, sketching, drawing.

Photographs by John Wray

John Wray’s Notes to Self

John Wray sees novels as falling into one of two categories—arrowheads or fruitcakes—whose modus operandi are distinct. “There’s the kind of novel that’s formed on the principle of exclusion, in which your goal is something very flinty and sharp and generally not very long. Those would be the arrowheads.” (See A Farewell to Arms, for example.) “Then there are the fruitcakes, which accrue on the basis of inclusion, in which almost anything could potentially be incorporated into the narrative as long as it’s interesting or amusing or bizarre.” (See Moby-Dick.)

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