Lisa Davidson and Ralph Petty
Breathing Underwater

The newest addition to The Art Monographs is the result of a collaboration between poet Lisa Davidson and artist Ralph Petty. Conceived as one, the poems and drawings tell of a duplicitous world in which dream may become nightmare, and beauty terror, in the blink of an eye. Theirs is a realm of shifting shapes and organic forms, saturated with a surfeit of life that seems variously splendid and miraculous, ruthless and inevitable. The natural world features strongly; we encounter storm-beaten trees, tired butterflies and panicked sheep. Yet the human world is never far away, a relentless presence that changes and exhausts all that comes into contact with it.

Davidson’s texts find a haunting echo in Petty’s dream-like ink wash drawings (Petty’s work also appears alongside Jeffrey Greene’s poems in Cahier 20, Shades of the Other Shore). Breathing Underwater reveals the convergence of two minds on one theme, discovering in each drawing-poem pair the rich cross-pollination between the visual and the verbal.

The Art Monographs

The Art Monographs, a series from Sylph Editions, juxtaposes works of art with literary writing. Informative, evocative, and associative, these lavishly produced books are a compelling portrayal of what happens when word and image coalesce.

  • 72 pages

  • 32 colour images

  • 310 x 225mm

  • ISBN 


  • Publication date: 


  • £ 24