By Brighton Press
A bound culmination of artistry from across varying genres, Ghost Trees is a work with a singular purpose, to enlighten in a time of crisis. Gentle letterpress printed text, using Perpetua font on mildly translucent paper made by the Cave Paper Company, seems to whisper to you of a seeming fairy tale place, bending the veil of our reality into a more ethereal place. These illuminating verses from the poet Martha Serpas, original work The Dirty Side of the Storm (New York, W.W. Norton, 2007) were repurposed into this artists’ book through the work of Michelle Burgess, Mark Tomlinson and Brighton Press. Madam Serpas original intent, to elucidate the effects of global warming on the lives of those people, many of whom of generational blue-collar origins, on the innocent creatures and even the ancient ecosystem of the Bayous of Lousiana themselves.
No matter your political, or scientific views, the simple fact is that the Bayou Swamps of Louisiana are eroding. Louisiana's 3 million acres of wetlands are lost at the rate about 75 square kilometers annually. What once took thousands of years to create with silt, topsoil, and other components traveling down the massive tributaries of the Mississippi River, it will only take a few more decades for this rich ecosystem to become completely decimated. Much like the prior deforestation of the Rain Forests Indonesia and the current systematic fire clearance of the Amazon Rain Forest, by losing the rich oxygenating and detoxifying Bayous, you stand to only intensify the strains of the world’s biosphere. This is not to mention the slowly gripping economic depression and forecast devastation for those people whose businesses and homes they are fully vested into this unique place with little chance of transplantation.
If there was only one change to this book that could be made, substituting its beauty and artistry, it would be taking those whispers and making them loud, bold pronouncements of great travesty. Luckily for the viewer, the printed etched copper plates re-create the ghostly landscapes of the Bayou while you are traveling through this book make any such changes completely unnecessary. The woven roots, shimmering waters, and dark mossed lined trees are a remarkably illustrated reminder of what can be lost in the wondrous scenes displayed. Let’s hope these printed whispers will grow with each viewer into a force to help those people, those institutions, and that truly unique landscape for the benefit of us all. See the slideshow
- Eric Bush