Children of Adam.
Artwork by Paul Cava, poems by Walt Whitman. With essays by John Wood, Arden Kass and Alexander Scholz.
edition GALERIE VEVAIS, Vevais, 2005. 176 pp., 24 (25 in the hardbound version) four-color reproductions with two additional decorative colors and 4 additional double-page gatefolds, 11x12".
In this beautifully crafted monograph, Paul Cava illustrates
Walt Whitman’s “Children of Adam” cycle from
Leaves of Grass. As a poem, Leaves of Grass rejoices in
the possibilities of life and the details of the world; this is
the book that Bill Clinton gave to Monica Lewinski after
all. The “Children of Adam” cycle celebrates the physical
world after the fall from Eden, a world of procreation and
physical love between man
and woman. Cava’s multilayered
erotic works, containing
beautifully arched bodies
juxtaposed with love letters
and natural elements,
emphasize the possibilities of
human love and share
Whitman’s belief that man
can be reborn through the ecstatic glorification of the
body. In his photographs, vines take root in genitals, bodies
meld into each other, wounds and mouths reveal
pathways into the body. A particularly powerful piece
features a closely cropped and upside-down Eve figure
holding fruit in her hand and placed opposite a rightside-
up Christ figure with a wound in his
side that resembles both Eve’s lips and
female genitalia. Mary’s hand visibly supports
Christ in pieta, placed at the same
height as Eve’s hand holding the fruit,
creating the feel of a unified body. The
background of wood and blood brings
together two symbolic elements important
to both figures, but on opposite ends
of the spectrum. In this photograph, Cava,
like Whitman, turns puritan ideas of
chastity and sin literally upside down. In
doing so, he collapses binary definitions of
sacred and profane, man and woman,
birth and death. Here, Christ’s flesh and
Eve’s fruit are offered in parallel—perhaps
suggesting a spiritual union similar to the
nurturing and feeding relationship
between mother and child. In both Cava’ s
and Whitman’s sensual works, meanings
are expansive and interrelated; the wood
of the tree of knowledge and the wood of
the Cross are of the same matter, just as
the fall and redemption, the finite and the
infinite. Cava’s illustrations are as sophisticated
and joyous as Whitman’s poem.
Presented together in this book, which celebrates the
150-year anniversary of Leaves of Grass, they are a treasure
to own and to explore over time. DENISE WOLFF
Hardcover comes signed and numbered and limited to 300 copies. Softcover is an edition printed in edition of 700 copies.
About the Limited Edition:
Housed in a clamshell box with a tipped-in cover image, this special edition of the hardcover book includes one of three print choices of archival pigment print and is limited to 10 copies of each print totaling 30 in the edition.
View Print Dear 4
View Print Choice Nemaleon 2
View Print Choice The Bride
View The Folio
Read Publisher's Description.
ZC665-LTD Limited Edition is no longer available.