Smoking Gun. Scorched Paper, 2003.

Karen Densham has taken a worn out, glib notion and transformed it into a thing of beauty. Her profound curiosity was aroused by ‘playing with fire’ on paper in her studio.  What to make of this?  She settled on the conceptually neat tautology of a depiction of a gun.  A particular type of gun, a ‘Western’ (Cowboy) gun, an archetype rooted in shared memory.  The image has an ethereal presence/absence; look too closely and it disappears, dissolving and reforming before our eyes.  Made around the time of the Iraq war, the daily utterance in the media of the search for the ‘smoking gun’ has been playfully turned on its head.  Yet poetry doesn’t provide us with answers – let alone glib ones – it states irresolvable contractions, transcends interpretations; it simply is. So here it is, at last, it’s finally found...

Ronald Jugg.  2003.


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Karen Densham