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Spring/Summer 2008, Volume 24.3



Mark BiddlePhoto of Mark Biddle.

Drawing on the Pleistocene


Mark Biddle is a Utah educator and designer raised in the Midwestern U.S., where the cornfields meet the parking lots and questions of open space closed up long ago. He received an MFA from Indiana State University in 1981 and currently serves as co-coordinator of the program in Visual Communication in the Department of Visual Arts at Weber State University.  See other visual art by Mark Biddle published in Weber.

Click here to see other art by Mark Biddle published in this issue of Weber.


Pen drawing for Ken Brewer's "Water Song," 2006
You become water as I become/ the song that can never hold you.
Pen drawing for Ken Brewer's "Water Song," 2006

The idea for Navigating Lake Bonneville emerged one night in Ogden, only a few miles from the Great Salt Lake, now a shallow puddle compared to the original body of fresh water which covered most of Utah during the last ice age. Diane Stern, the director of the Weber State University Office of Cultural Affairs, was the driving energy behind what was to evolve from a serendipitous whim to an adventurous stage production. We werenít able to envision it all clearly in those initial moments, and yet, all expected that this confluence of music, art, and poetry, based on a primordial landscape, would produce something interesting. Brad Richter had won numerous awards as a guitarist and was used to seeking his inspiration from the land. But aside from the ancient shorelines which line the foothills of the Wasatch Range like giant bathtub rings, we could only see the original lake, the glaciers, and prehistoric fauna by dreaming of it. Dream, we did.

Pen drawing for Ken Brewer's "City Song," 2006
Ogden under the lake, imagine you
breathe not air but water.

Pen drawing for Ken Brewer's "City Song," 2006

The music/dance component features Brad Richter, composer and guitarist, Viktor Uzur, cellist, Carly Pederson, vocalist, and Erik Stern, narration and percussion, along with the WSU Chamber Choir directed by Mark Henderson. Adolph Yonkee, a geoscientist, consulted with us on the project (see page 108). Ken Brewer, Utahís Poet Laureate at the time, was taken with the romance, homage, humor and fantasy of it all. The illustrations on these pages and in the CD booklet are a response to Kenís poems and to a far-off ethereality that I felt from Bradís music.

Ogdonian Stealth Darter, 2006 pen drawing
Ogdonian Stealth Darter, 2006 pen drawing


Click here to read the accompanying poems by Ken Brewer.

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