Sunday, June 19, 2011

New artist book and musing on papercutting...

A preview of my most recent work - which I finished editioning this weekend! Only an edition of five, but considering I made the paper, printed each sheet individually (twice!), bound the structure, hand-cut the pages, and built a clamshell for each book, I'd say that's still a fair amount of work. 

The book is called Chacaltaya, and is about the Bolivian glacier that disappeared in 2009 (read more about it here.) It also contains a poem written in Spanish (with translation provided) about the idea of the loss of a glacier, and the loss of the water it represents.

I've been thinking a great deal about my interest in the human-nature interrelationship, and how it is explored in my work. As I've stated before, I see paper, particular plant-made paper, as representative of nature. Whatever I do to it - cutting, shaping, casting, printing, sewing - as the mark of the hand, and therefore the mark of the human. As I was cutting, I started thinking about some of my "human marks" involving piercing or cutting the paper in some way - a means of destroying or altering the paper to get my desired result.

I also started thinking about how piercing the paper, with its pretty obvious sexual connotations, is seen as essentially a "male" action. Which led me to think - is the mark of the human synonymous in our greater society with the mark of the man? If so, what is the mark of the woman? Or is woman the antithesis of this idea, and leaves no mark, therefore invisible? Could I make woman-marks in my work that do not evoke men at all? Or is this all hogwash, and my works are gender neutral?  (According to the Battle of the Sexes tally, I was more male than female, so maybe not). Is the mark of the human gender neutral? We certainly are all, men and women, to blame for the damage we've done to the planet.

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