Taos Book Arts Group Book of the Month

I am so pleased my book “House of Cards:  Plaza Blanca” was chosen to be the Book of the Month, to be displayed in the Taos Community Auditorium, September 29-November 20, 2014.

The Book of the Month is a collaboration between the Taos Center for the Arts and the Taos Book Arts Group. Each month a new work of art is on display in the Encore Gallery. Artists in the Book Arts Group experiment with a wide range of readily available materials and simple techniques to develop creative narratives. Sometimes they bear little resemblance to the codex book form that is most familiar to all of us, yet they share with all books sequence and narrative.

My book is titled “Plaza Blanca: House of Cards”. It is a piece about the White Place, or Plaza Blanca, in Abiquiu and is based on a child’s game, “A House of Cards.” I see it in relation to the White Place and the way it is always eroding and changing, how portions of the cliff fall down, rocks weather, and water carves out the arroyos. It is never the same from one season to the next.

I started with two large ink drawings done on site at Plaza Blanca. I then wrote the text of a poem entitled ‘Echo Amphitheater’ by Renee Gregorio on the back. I cut the drawings into 72 cards, ran them through a laminator and then cut slots in them. They can be assembled in an infinite number of ways. There is no right or wrong structure.


Water marks spill down the rock face,

deep red on pale orange, spidery dried blood.

This theater’s a bowl of sound,

a ship of air.  The horizon’s upward: a wave-

cloud through blue, trees erupting from stone,

the earth’s boundaries raw, untenable.


All voice is an echo, all sound a stoney return.

Too many shouting at once ends in babble,

the obscure danger behind a siren’s wail.

Short, sharp sounds echo best, the sign says.

A leaf’s softer turning doesn’t reverberate.

Here’s a stage for word’s re-making.

An unoriginal theater giving back

piercing sounds, the brief masks of voice.


"House of Cards: Plaza Blanca"

About Julie Wagner

I was born in Wisconsin, and grew up on the east coast, wandering the woods, collecting leaves, bones, and bugs. After earning a BA from Oberlin College, studying sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum School, and receiving an MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, I moved to a rural town in northern New Mexico where I live with my blacksmith husband, and a long series of dogs and cats. My work is based on the natural environment where I live, maps, scientific diagrams and microscopic images. My work is in public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
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