Myth has it that Baja California was once ruled by a giant queen, Calafia. Her subjects were black Amazon women, and they lived in a land of ferocious griffins, tall mountains, precipitous cliffs, and deep valleys. Baja was also said to be an island of gold and precious stones. Spanish explorers, lured by tales of riches and beautiful women, were drawn to this mythical place. Jesuit priests, adventurers, fishermen, hunters, and the curious soon followed. In Isle of the Amazons in the Vermilion Sea, Gregory MacDonald has assembled a superb collection of excerpts from diaries, letters, field notes, books, and journals. These short impressions give us the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of mountain hamlets, lush valleys, hot deserts, and blue seas, and together, they create a stunning narrative of the mythology, history, and topology of the Baja land, sea, and people. Montalvo, Cortéz, and Padre Eusebio Kino—in 1400, 1535, and 1701, respectively—describe the flora and fauna of a peninsula untouched by civilization, and in the twentieth century, Bancroft, Cannon, Crosby, Gardner, North, Steinbeck, and Octavio Paz, among others, speak of the fishing, the hunting, and, despite hardships, the pure joy of being. The writers observe fish pileups and feeding-frenzies; suffer insect bites, cactus pricks, and jellyfish stings; and are awed by magical sunsets, the silence of the desert, and the stars. Original illustrations by award-winning printmaker Judith Palmer transform Isle of the Amazons in the Vermilion Sea into a masterpiece.
|Publisher:||39 West Press|
|Product dimensions:||8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.63(d)|
About the Author
JUDITH PALMER is a printmaker whose work is in the tradition of Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Richard Diebenkorn. She explores the language of art and the process by which art's sign-system communicates its message-line, texture, color, and image. Palmer collects "found language"--numerals, words, sentences--from streets, walls, or waste paper, transfers their photo images onto zinc plates, and combines these elements with traditional, more rigid patterns and techniques of etching. The result is a dialectic: a movement back and forth between spontaneously flowing arabesques--that represent energy, aggression, and rebellion--and the rigid, straight lines of confinement and restriction. This combined language of spontaneity and restraint generates movement and tension between the different parts--form becomes content. Palmer's art is housed in the permanent collections of galleries and museums in Santa Monica, California; Knoxville, Tennessee; Riverside, California; and Pomona, California. She has received many awards, including the Margaret R. Hanenberg Award from the University of California, Riverside; the "Ink and Clay" Purchase Prize Award from California State Polytechnic in Pomona, California; and the "Jurors' Award" at the Pacific States Print Exhibition. Her line drawings for this volume are a departure from her more stylized, post-modern work.