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This article is taken from PN Review 200, Volume 37 Number 6, June - July 2011.

The Soul of Things: Mary Harman and her Art Marius Kociejowski
She bares all her teeth when she smiles. Always there’s a ripe joke, the more Catholic the merrier, she is about to set loose. She tells them as only the puritanical at heart can, as one who understands the gravitas of that which she’s about to take for a ride. Against this, melancholy demands equal time. When she speaks of going down, down, down, into whatever region it is the images come, what one gets from her is a sense of art being an affliction, maybe even a curse. When I spoke to her for purposes of this piece, which is to say we put aside our customary mode of exchanging deep moans and frivolities, Mary Harman was putting together an exhibition of holograms for the Butler Institute of Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Ohio was her home state once. She grew up on a forty-acre farm, 75 miles south of Toledo – Rural Route 4, Ottawa, Ohio, to be precise. She has lived in Canada since 1969 and divides her time between Montreal and her cabin in Vale Perkins, in the Eastern Townships, at the confluence of two streams. Spirits love confluences. She lives not far from where there is a mysterious stone with petroglyphs, about which there has been some debate. A local archaeologist affectionately dubbed ‘Goldilocks’ claims they draw on Ogham, a Celtic script that predates the Viking arrivals in North America. Others say they were made by the Abenaki tribe or, as they call themselves, Alnôbak, which translates ...


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