Some Canterbury Tales
By Geoffrey Chaucer. Illustrations by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.
In her inventive rendition of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales for Four Corners' Familiars series, artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (born 1973) selects her favorite of the tales--the Prologue, The Miller's Tale, The Reeve's Tale, The Friar's Tale, The Merchant's Tale, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Summoner's Tale and The Pardoner's Tale--and sets them against hundreds of collages. These eclectic illustrations reflect the artist's participatory, communal energies: many of the photographs used were sent to her by friends and acquaintances or are found images. Chetwynd creates a marvelous milieu of interlocking allusions--medieval church imagery, Baroque ornamentation, Renaissance etching, natural-history photography and absurdist, surreal imagery combines. With their intertwined, complex threads and narrative qualities, the collages reflect Chaucer's own eclecticism and produce similar moments of crude eroticism and ribaldry.