Circe: a Homage to James Joyce: Allen Hessler and Mark West

March 4 - 27, 1985

In 1982 Allen Hessler listened to a broadcast James Joyce’s of monumental work of fiction, Ullysses.  “For one who was not familiar with the work it was a truly sensual experience. In this situation the conceptual meaning of the words was overshadowed by the musical aspect, i.e. texture, colour, rhythm.” The artist's aim was to make paintings that embraced the “Joycean spirit”, working specifically with the section “Circe” and its focus on the “hierarchy of man’s spiritual evolution". (Hessler, exhibition publication)

Mark West had conducted some in-depth study of Joyce’s writing, and Hessler thought him to be an ideal partner in the project of making an homage to the writer, because West had already had given a number of homages to Joyce. For the exhibition, West produced a poem of thirty-four triplets comprised of “narrative elements taken from Joyce’s heroic life and work”. The collaboration was rounded out with a co-produced thirty-six minute video.

Circe: a Homage to James Joyce: Allen Hessler and Mark West Catalogue [PDF]