About the Art
I make collage from paper I scavenge -- from a long-grown child's half-filled coloring book, pilot's weather manual copyright 1944, correspondence, Prohibition-era ledgers and so on -- and shred. Though I can't resist the handmade paper at Two Hands Paperie, and I'm currently experimenting with calligraphy paper I stumbled on at Meinenger's, it's rare that I'm compelled by new material, and my most greedily hoarded bits I've discovered pressed to the playground fence (the wrapper for a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar transforms improbably once it’s blown a mile or a season).
As a writer, I've spent my professional and creative life making meaning on paper with words. These pieces turn on dismantling the same materials--first the stories, then sentences, the words themselves, and finally the material they are printed on. Certainly not coincidental. Removed from their original context and reorganized, the pieces become objects over which my eye, rather than my intellect, arbitrates meaning.
I conform to a few rules. No image or piece of paper is precious, and any literal story that emerges is fortuitous, or perhaps unconscious. I have found that when I place value on a particularly beautiful piece of paper or typography, or insisting on meaning, the result is far less satisfying -- mysterious -- than when I get out of the way. The character of the paper--most evident when exposed by a tear, or a wrinkle or in a child's jammy thumbprint, the story of light and air in the foxed edge--related independent of me to the other elements. Like any relationship, I can request, and I can suggest, but don't get far when I insist.
The finished object is tiny—the largest original is 5” on a side, the majority are considerably smaller—technological feats transform an individual piece into an abstraction many times its original size. The resulting prints are as richly textured and touchable as the original, but include detail that would never otherwise be visible. The principle at work is something like the relationship of negatives to prints, though the original is, of course, a positive.