Thursday, November 12, 2015

Paul Smart's 'Talking Walls' review in the Saugerties Times

Excerpt from Paul Smart's review from Oct 15th edition of the Saugerties Times:

Many know of Matt Bua from his sculptural art works, such as the two
story handmade cat he constructed from found twigs and lumber in
Catskill several years ago, his wild drawings and curating/editing of
a great book about visionary architecture or B Home experiments with
building myths and new realities out in backcountry Greene County, or
even his self-made instruments and musical adventures. Nothing he's
done to date, though, properly prepares one for the deep joys, and
varied catharses, immersed in his newest book put together with
Catskill's enterprising Publication Studio Hudson.

Talking Walls: Casting Out The Post-Contact Stone-Wall-Building Myth,
which Bua will be discussing at a book launch event at Saugerties'
Inquiring Mind Bookstore starting at 7:00 PM on Saturday, October 17,
is an artist's book of a brand-new stripe. Like some classics that
begot entire fields of science in the 18th and 19th centuries, or
great explorers' memoirs, the author admits the limitations of his
curiosity-driven and chaotic methodology right from the start.

"I am not a scientist. I am an artist. My training is in connecting
seemingly disparate dots. My practice involves training my
consciousness to deal with loose ends and dancing around the
unanswerable," he writes in his own Forward. "This book is far from
anything close to a complete theory concerning the stone walls and
their builders. It is essentially just a 'stepping off' place,
considering existing explanations so each of us can experience what's
still here firsthand. There is no training or school that can prepare
one for this, just the desire for anything and everything to happen
with splendor and grandeur."

What results, care of new Creative Commons licensing allowances, is a
mash-up of materials always based on Bua's in-the-field walks and
ramblings, his deep observations and ruminations about all the stone
walls throughout our greater region. He starts with a shake of the
head -- is there really any way this could have all been done by
settlers while pioneering and farming and raising families and
starting communities? Then he shows off all he's found in the woods,
in books, in ever-widening gyres of research, and finally his own
mapmaking and creative conjurings.

Who cares, in the final round, what's truly true? THis is a book of
voyaging and making history, and the world, one's very own.

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