Order Nr. 138630 VENUS POEMS. Walter Bachinski, Janis Butler.
One of 30 Copies


(Shanty Bay Press).
  • (Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada): Shanty Bay Press, (2016).
  • small folio, clamshell is folio
  • quarter cloth over illustrated paper-covered boards, clamshell is cloth-covered boards with a hand-printed paper spine label
  • v, 21, (2) pages

Price: $2,000.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 138630

Privately printed in an edition of 35 numbered copies signed by both artists. Prospectus loosely inserted. A fine copy in fine clamshell box.

From the artist: "I have been obsessed for decades with representing the female form. I have used all the media at my disposal: drawing, painting, sculpture and now, with this project, the book. Of great interest to me is the subject of Venus, in all her manifestations, and particularly her birth. Its understandable that I would also begin a love affair with the bathers motif from the late 19th and early 20th century. My first drawings and pastels of the bathers motif go back to the early 1980s, inspired in part, by a year spent in France. The idea of bathers as subject matter in France was well established by the 18th century. Fortunately for us, in North America, major paintings on this theme by Cezanne, Renoir, Picasso and Matisse found their way to major museums in the United States. In the Barnes collection are two major Cezanne paintings: Bathers at Rest, his first major bather painting and Nudes in Landscape the great bathers painting that he was working on until his death. Also in Philadelphia at the Museum of Art is another late great Cezanne painting Large Bathers as well as the monumental Renoir Bathers. Equally influential are two Matisse masterpieces, The Joie de Vivre in the Barnes Collection and the great Bathers by a River housed in the Art Institute of Chicago. Studying these paintings over the years has given me the confidence to try and work with this subject matter.

Over the next two decades, my interest in the bathers and the female form transformed into another classical image, the Three Graces. ( Over the next two decades, my interest in the female form and its expression in the bathers began to resonate with another classical image, the Three Graces.) I have done several pastels on this theme. The idea of depicting the Birth of Venus started in 2002 and eventually I created three very large triptychs in pastel done over several years, the last one completed in 2013. These works reference the Three Graces, as there is a central figure of Venus on a half shell, flanked by two other females.

Our last book was a selection of stories from Ovids Metamorphoses illustrated with black and white photogravures. The images for that book were closely related to the text, and as such, more like what one usually thinks of as illustration. I wanted to return to making a book which would be more connected to my current studio practice in pastel, where colour dominates and, in the case of my figurative work, my concerns are more decorative. For this book I designed a pochoir triptych based loosely on the large format pastel paintings on the birth of Venus which I have done over the past decade. This pochoir triptych is accompanied by a book containing poems about Venus. The idea with this book is to open up the clam shell case to view the triptych, while reading the poems. The various images in the book are not meant as specific illustrations to the text, but rather as decorative elements that have an emotional connection to the words of the three poems.

After spending considerable time reading poems relating to Venus, I finally chose three. The first Sun and Flesh written in 1870 by a youthful Arthur Rimbaud (he was only 16). It is an exuberant, luscious read by a precocious teenager who was to turn the world of poetry on its head in only a couple of years. Rainer Maria Rilke is a poet that we have used before in our two books on the circus. His short poem from 1907 entitled The Birth of Venus describes the sensuousness of the occasion with great precision and invention. The last and longest poem Pervigilium Veneris, or The Vigil of Venus attributed to the Roman poet Tiberanaeus and composed in the fourth century AD was suggested to me by its translator Bruce Whiteman. It is a description of festival about the rebirth of spring under the protection of Venus. To me, these poems are life affirming and combined with the decorative nature of the images, will hopefully arouse a sense of well being in the reader."

From the Prospectus: "Janis Butler and Walter Bachinski are pleased to announce the publication of Venus Poems in October of 2016. The inspiration for the book evolved out of Bachinskis obsession with representing the female form. His study and understanding of the great paintings of bathers of the late 19 th and earlier 20 th century in France by the artists Cezanne, Renoir and Matisse encouraged him to do three large pastel painting exploring this theme over the past several years. The centrepiece of the book, the Venus pochoir triptych has been influenced by these. Accompanying this is a small book of three poems, each having a unique interpretation of Venus. The first is Sun and Flesh by a young Arthur Rimbaud. The second, the Birth of Venus is by Rainer Maria Rilke and the third, Pervigilium Veneris, or the Vigil of Venus, is attributed to the 4 th century Roman poet Tiberaenanus.

The book of poems is housed in the bottom of a large clamshell box, while the complex Venus pochoir is matted and set within the cover of the box. The design allows one to open up the clamshell case to view the triptych, while reading the poems. The various images in the book are not meant as specific illustrations to the text, but rather as decorative elements that have an emotional connection to the three poems.

The clamshell box measures 15 ¼ x 22 x1 1/2 inches. The matted triptych pochoir images are, from left to right, 9 x 4 ¾, 9 x 5 ¼ and 9 x 4 ¾ inches. The book measures 14 ½ X 9 inches and there are 40 pages including blanks. The book is handset 16 point Bembo printed on 200 gsm Arches Cover (175 gsm BFK Rives). The book is quarter bound in cloth and on the cover is a 5 colour reduction lino cut printed on Gampi paper. There are simple colour linocuts on the title page and to introduce each of the three poems. VENUS POEMS was designed jointly by Janis Butler and Walter Bachinski. The book was printed on a Vandercook Universal 1 by Janis Butler who also did binding."