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The Loves of the Poets.
Photographs by Joseph Mills.
Nazraeli Press, Tucson, 2005. 32 pp., 26 four-color illustrations, 9x12".

This jewel-like book brings the troubling visions of Joseph Mills into a trade edition with elegance and unsettling efficiency. Mills creates photocollages from found ephemera, mounts them on objects or pastes them into existing books, and heavily coats them with furniture varnish. The collages are then photographed, which constitutes the base material for subsequent limited editions of the work, as well as this trade edition. The yellowed images of two-headed lovers, violently disfigured bodies, alien-eyed babies, and revenant Sacco and Vanzetti possessing the bodies of a dog and a priest are like dispatches from an old, nightmarish wire service. The collages are anything but seamless, but their recurrent imagery and interplay among horror and sick humor hearken to the masterful surrealist “novels” of Max Ernst in his collage phase. Their brute impact is even more disquieting in such a refined and gorgeous package; an emerald velveteen casewrap with beveled edges and bound with a faux crocodile-skin spine reveal little of the mutant images within. The pages are gilt-edged and in a subtle but brilliant stroke, the ghosting effect, which references the original book object, gives the impression that one is seeing through thin stock to the previous page. This only adds another level of disorientation to an already intense and lovely dip into the dark side. ALAN RAPP

About the limited edition

This special edition of The Loves of the Poets is limited to 100 copies with an original print (View Print), numbered and signed by the artist and presented in a black velvet clamshell box.
Read Publisher's Description.

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