The Cornucopia Trio

The collective art making project, Cornucopia, began in 2010 when artists Rik Lina (Netherlands), Gregg Simpson (Canada) and John Welson (Wales) began mailing each other works, an invitation to the next artist to contribute to the finished piece. I have always thought of this collective as akin to a free jazz trio, which is my background as a jazz drummer and Rik and John as avid listeners for decades. I see Rik, especially with his swooping ink lines, as the saxophone, John with his rolling earthy forms as the bass and myself adding percussive color and texture. In this case writer Allan Graubard, our guest ‘vocalist’, has written text for a select group of images by Cornucopia from past years. His writing keys in to the vivid imagery, but he insists his singing is always off key! If that’s that case, let atonality reign supreme.

-Gregg Simpson, 2022

Holy Smoke
Rik Lina, Gregg Simpson and John Welson

That night, when a large red praying mantis landed on her bedroom window with a soft thud, the window before the desk where she was writing, she lifted her head up and smiled. Nothing could be so vulgar, she thought, than this creature who, because of its cunning, mastery  of camouflage, and sharp powerful tearing spines claimed the world it inhabited. For her, of course, vulgarity was a prize. The more vulgar a creature was to her – human, animal, fish, bird or insect – the greater its power.

     She used the term as well from its root: tawdry, flamboyant, garish, brash, loutish, crude, brassy, rude and as common as possible. A perfect amalgam to paste together her curious tales into a medium that the cheapest lowlife enjoyed. So they did, and the prizes and checks and film offers came, one after another, two at a time, until she didn’t give a damn who made them or how well or how poorly they did for a public she evaded, preferring her solitude above all else in this make believe vicious whirlwind she conducted as if her life depended on it – which, no “as ifs” needed, it did.

The Table Is Set
Rik Lina, Gregg Simpson and John Welson

Field agent’s B16 report, initially filed per directive at his local office, quickly found its way to the national director. He read it, wrote up the affidavit for a search warrant and sent it on to a judge. After due process, the judge approved it. The director ordered the special squad to suit up and get to it.

At stake was nothing less than the ability to breathe, bite, breaststroke, battle and belittle. That the latter had less to do with the former than a frog does with a bottle of milk had nothing to do with it. Since the evening  of the 12th when laughter replaced cognition and water balloons exploded on the street, moonglow dousing us all, everything was in flux. This included every prevarication sewn into a leafy flower, each busted safety valve worth saving, two or three aural visions and walking upside down. Enumerative, exhausting, eruptive? Quite.

They’d done whatever they wanted to, those bipedal harems, living in red brick row houses stained with coal smoke. Ah, that coal smoke …

 Thereafter the lexicon unraveled, uproarious, horizontal, striking its own match to the torch that seared a name across the case: Agamemnon. 

 So that was it.

 Murder, murder and judgement.

 Neither the national director nor any of his assistants testified. They didn’t have to. The lawyers argued over the instrument but blood tells all. Even deer licking a twilight barbecue cued up, hooves hot to applaud.

 And when it came down, the heavens parted and great sassafras babies with thick chocolate lashes stirred the witchy soup that feeds us …

Featured Photo False Prophet
Rik Lina, Gregg Simpson and John Welson

see more on Cornucopia

Rik Lina

The Inner Landscape | Riklina Visual Artist | Buarcos

(The Netherlands 1942)  lived and worked on different continents, preferably in wild nature, as a way of life using Odilon Redon’s advise: “Immerse yourself into nature!”. For this he dedicated life and art to study the deserts, the mountains, tropical rainforest- and coral reef jungles. In 1975, the emigration to the Caribbean island of Bonaire became an essential experience for his work with more than a thousand hours of scuba-diving. A major part of his drawing, painting and graphic work represents poetry and life of the pelagic realms, next to his explorations of the jungles of cloud forests and inner space.

Gregg Simpson

The Art of Gregg Simpson

A prolific and critically recognized artist and musician, has exhibited his paintings, drawings, and works on paper throughout Canada, the US, Europe, South America and Asia. His work is included in several academic studies, art history books and journals published in Canada, Europe, and Australia and has been exhibited in several historical surveys on surrealism and abstraction.

John Welson

began painting at the age of 12. He received a thorough education in painting, drawing, graphics, ceramics and attended two colleges of art. He has participated in over 300 exhibitions in both private and public galleries around the world since the early 1970’s. From the late 1960’s to the early 1990’s he painted Figurative Surrealist Paintings, exhibiting with artists as diverse as Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Rene Magritte, Max Ernst, Lucian Freud and Damian Hirst. Since the mid 1990’s he has produced Lyrical Abstracted Paintings inspired by the landscape of his native Wales.

Allan Graubard

is a poet, writer, and playwright with works translated in numerous languages. His plays have premiered in the U.S. and EU. He is the editor of and contributing author to Into the Mylar Chamber: Ira Cohen (Fulgur, UK, 2019), American liaison for and contributing author to the International Encyclopedia of Surrealism (Bloomsbury, UK, 2019), and editorial advisor for and contributing author to A Phala: Revisita do Movimento Surrealista (Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2015). Forthcoming in 2020 is a new book of poems and tales, Western Terrace (Exstasis Editions, Victoria, BC) while 2019 saw Language of Birds, a collaboration with artist Rik Lina (Anon Editions, NY/Flagstaff). In 2017, A Crescent by Any Other Name, selected tales, published (Anon Editions, NY/LA). That same year he was co-editor of and contributing author to The Art of Conduction: A Conduction Workbook by the renowned conductor-composer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris (Karma Books, NY), with whom he was a principal collaborator for over three decades. Other titles of fiction and poetry are: Sirenes (Phasm Press, NY), Targets (Anon Editions, NY/LA), And tell tulip the summer (Quattro Books, Toronto), and Roma Amor, with photographs by Ira Cohen (Spuyten Duyvil Press, NY). He was co-editor of the expansive, two-volume: Invisible Heads: Surrealists in North America – An Untold Story (Anon Editions, NY/LA) and guest editor of and contributing author to a centennial celebration of poet Gherasim Luca (Hyperion, Contra Mundum Press, NY).

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