Book Review: Anne Brigman

Book Review: Anne Brigman

By Peter Kougias

I wonder how far my small voice sang

On the wings of the echoes that mountain night?...

I wonder whether the cañons rang

On another star in the fading light?...

“The Storm Tree”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

“The Storm Tree”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

Nature is the heartbeat of life.

Crooked trees protect us from harm with their shade. Through their greens, they give us words to say when we are short of breath. Their roots ground into Earth’s core holding reality in balance.

“Dawn”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

“Dawn”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

In this grand collection, Anne Brigman’s photos evoke a running sprint off jagged cliffs and sailing over the crystal waters. But, in the right mind, one can stand on the brink enduring the full frontal beauty of the wilderness.

Each frame, dark shades paired with natural light, seen as rich sketches drawn with a fine pencil. Her subjects pose around the Garden of Eden before its foreseen doom.

“Pan”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

“Pan”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

Naked portraits in the woods were risque for its origin of the early 1920’s; nevertheless, absolutely stunning. A young man poses nude in Pan chilling on a boulder in “siren” fashion. He is a wood nymph seducing those into the boondocks of sensuality and homoeroticism. Beyond the trees rests his Neverland.

Conjuring the Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water in The Witch Tree, the body of a woman blends into the bark and her arms weave into the branches. The power within her soul mirrors the gifts Mother Nature blessed the Earth.

“The Bubble”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

“The Bubble”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

Channeling Hans Christian Andersen, Brigman succumbs to rushing waves of the sea.  She writes in her divine poetry “ I have come to the shore with its age-old song its endless horizons and terrible deeps… I have come to the ocean… and I belong.” Abandoned on the shores with their human life, the women in her pictures reminisce of their previous lives swimming in aquatic kingdoms.

The glooming prose of Sylvia Plath laced with the hymns of Lana Del Rey are the next of kin in Anne Brigman’s art.

The resurgence of her natural imagery spring a last call for our deteriorating world.

“Infinitude”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

“Infinitude”, Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

There are no trails to those far shining days…

Fruit cannot turn and be a bud again…

The resurrection of the dreaming seed

Shall come… out of the dark and rain.

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