In 2004 a CD of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” found it’s way into Margaret Parker’s car. Glen Gould’s early recording was crystalline clear, stopped when the car stopped then clicked on precisely where it left off. Each variation became a memory test, each repetition of theme more penetrating than the last. Messy life interruptions cropped in with their own counter tempo. How changed is the way we listen to music – has this changed music’s meaning? Over the year, Glen Gould, Goldberg and Bach became her traveling companions, each short trip a new vision appeared. The automobile as a space/time chapel, the driver as a moving receiver, the brain as a sight/sound stop/go unraveler became what Parker attempted to record. Her reflection on Bach’s 32 variations is this collection of 32 poems, her investigation of that year, driven by listening.
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Margaret Parker is a visual artist whose paintings, woven installations and sculpture have been shown nationally, in Mexico and Canada. Her work is in the permanent collection of the United States Capitol, the State Department Art Bank, and the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, among others. She has always seen art as one layer of a dense mix of text, music, dance, film and performance available for expression. Dance took her to Bennington College, but poetry, theatre and art were all veins to be mined. Migrating back towards home in the Midwest, she gravitated to the visual arts at the University of Michigan, designing for the University of Michigan School of Music opera in the 1970’s. Her love of theatre led her to New York City, where theatrical painting supported her own painting for several years. For over thirty years, her illustrations of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” have accompanied Bob McGrath of Sesame Street in his appearances with community orchestras across the country. Her 1988 series of terra cotta reliefs, “Stations”, reflected the epidemic of homelessness that struck New York all around her in the 80’s. Photographs of the series with meditations by activist priest and poet Daniel Berrigan were published by Harper & Row, San Francisco, in 1989 as "Stations: A Way of the Cross". Writing poetry has been a private effort that engaged Parker throughout her life. This collection is her first book. She lives with her husband in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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