Murray Toews

Murray Toews - VUCAVU

I was fortunate enough to recruit Murray Toews as Visual Editor for Rhubarb magazine. He also contributed graphics, culminating in the 9 illustrations for each story in 9 Mennonite Stories, published by The Mennonite Literary Society in 2017. One email led another another email led to 100,000 thousand or more, and Murray bought extra storage and stored them all. We also started to collaborate on a life-long project I initiated called The Abject Alphabet influenced by Julia Kristeva and the Sad Phoenician, Robert Kroetsch, and hundreds of of abecedarians** 
(Entry 2 of 2)

1a of or relating to the alphabet

alphabetically arranged


 by Murray Toews

With one significant difference sprouted by the crowding in of Covid, and my tendency to burst into tears during public readings. I started taping my readings, collaborating with Murray whose drawing degree combined with expertise in animation and multimedia were perfectly suited for what I was after. You can find A through F on YouTube and on this website.  I asked Murray to collaborate and assist with the installation and projections of LOOK show in Winnipeg, and then commissioned Murray to do a major art piece based on my work like the other artist in this LOOK show. These are his notes on the prep for his large trpytch.

* In  another bizarre coincidence running over my cups the term has also referred to Los Angeles based trio active in the mid to late 80’s. Chris Manecke (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Kevin Dolan (drums) and John Blake (bass) specialized in reverb heavy, synth driven post-punk songs. AND

** According to the original Catholic Encyclopedia*** B the Abecedarians were a 16th-century German sect of Anabaptists who affected an absolute disdain for all human knowledge, contending that God would enlighten his elect from within themselves, giving them knowledge of necessary truths by visions and ecstasies, with which human learning would interfere.[2][3]

*** An indication of how wrong unverified posts can be, though it is a bit of funny for real or declined Mennonites.

Exposing my thoughts and process (so far) on the Triptych for LOOK Show

(once exposed to oxygen, they fall apart)

By Murray Toews
July 5, 2022


Looking through years of emails, a narrative emerges from the shrapnel of thought. Like a collage, that once was a whole picture and now disassembled reality, is slowly being  hammered into another into a misshapen one.

I’ve watched a top that cannot/will not stop, a flurry of fragmented exposition firing out in all directions. I’ve begun to put a picture, or pictures, together that represent the totality of a person, moving through the jagged corridors of time.

My eyes are now closed and I’ve completed the triptych.

I wake up and try to recall my thoughts. 

I realize that it exists within an unresolved place, that has no space, that is unstuck in time.

Three panels should do the trick. Beginning. Middle. Ending. 

Structure is good…



Three large panels, up to 4 feet in height. One might be an old window. 

I keep thinking of The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Evenby Marcel Duchamp.

Hinged together, so that it can stand on its own. 

Also thinking of “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch.


Found magazines, random images on the internet, downloaded.

Scissors and exacto knives, start cutting.






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