Goreyography Reviews
the exhibition catalog


by the
University of Hawai'i Art Gallery with Dr. Joseph Stanton

'Looking for Edward Gorey' by the University of Hawai'i

Looking for Edward Gorey
is produced as a companion to the exhibition Musings of Mystery and Alphabets of Agony: The Works of Edward Gorey, organized by the University of Hawai'i Art Gallery and the University of Hawai'i Library.

The catalog is available
directly from
the University of Hawai'i Art Gallery Bookstore
the Edward Gorey House Gift Shop

Jan 30, 2012
by Glen Emil

Jan 31 2012      Special to Goreyography

Out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by mermaids and yet-to-be-discovered sea creatures and ocean wrecks, 2,400 miles from the closest continent, hundreds of people came looking for Edward Gorey. Thanks to John Carollo, most found him, at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa’s exhibition Musings of Mystery and Alphabets of Agony: the Works of Edward Gorey. Installation detail from 'Looking for Edward Gorey'
Photo of exhibit installation in Looking for Edward Gorey

The exhibition, which closed in December 2010, was a very admirable effort, and quite a success. Andreas Brown, co-trustee of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, described it as the “most elaborate” Gorey exhibit he’s seen outside The Edward Gorey House museum itself. Despite its geographic isolation, the exhibition garnered praise thousands of miles away. Other comparisons were made between it and The Edward Gorey House near Boston, a mere 5,800 miles east, as the Osbick Bird flies. The Hawai'ian exhibition has long been taken down, the artworks returned to their low-UV spaces and darkened archives. This is where Looking for Edward Gorey, the exhibition’s catalog, works to fill the vacuum. Just released, it does, to a large degree, do a good job. Photographs of the exhibits and installations bring back fond memories for those who attended, while it gives the rest of us a sense that we really missed something. I only wish there were more photos of the numerous and very well-endowed rooms and halls. An exhibition checklist would’ve been nice.

Looking for Edward Gorey’s narrative appears as a retrospective essay by Dr. Joseph Stanton, Professor of Arts & Humanities at the University of Hawai'i. Guiding his reader through the extensive, winding exhibit, the catalog covers most of Gorey’s oeuvre. The book is divided into thematic categories, and Stanton’s essay approaches the show like an audio tour of Gorey’s abecedariums, cautionary tales, collaborative hauntings, menaced-children tragedies, Anchor-paperback covers, and so on. Taken at an even pace, his stream of exploration helps introduce Gorey’s art forms as they developed, and helps define Gorey’s blending of artistic expression and story-building. At some level, one ends up following the catalog like an academic gumshoe, picking up the bits and anecdotes, seeing how they fit - or not, ultimately forming a body of theory you can call your own. It enhances the experience of the exhibition, taking a different tack from previous catalogs.

Happily, Looking for Edward Gorey contains more than enough reference material, allowing it to stand on its own as an introductory primer on the works of Edward Gorey, twelve years after his death. Thanks to Dr. Joseph Stanton and the University of Hawai'i Art Gallery, people in the crossroads of the Pacific and beyond can pursue their search for Edward Gorey with just reward.

Looking for Edward Gorey, from the University of Hawai'i Art Gallery, with 163 pages, contains black and white illustrations, color photographs, bibliography and works consulted references. Preface and Acknowledgement by Lisa A. Yoshihara, Director, University of Hawai'i Art Gallery. Introduction and essay by Dr. Joseph Stanton, Professor of Arts and Humanities, Department of Art and Art History, Department of American Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Paperback, 9 x 12 inches. ISBN 978-098203323-4. $35.oo

Images from Looking for Edward Gorey, Dr. Joseph Stanton, University of Hawai'i, 2011. Images 2011 the University of Hawai'i