I learned today that my mixed media artwork was accepted in the Think Small show at the Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale. I submitted two pieces, Heinrich's Sorrow and an artbook entitled Reflections Unacquainted. Both pieces were chosen and Reflections Unacquainted received an honorable mention! The show will run from November 27 - December 20. The opening reception is on Friday, December 6 from 6 - 9 PM.
Heinrich's Sorrow depicts an earlier version of the Grimm's fairytale Iron Heinrich also known as The Frog Prince. Heinrich, the prince's steadfast servant, placed three iron bands around his heart to keep it from bursting with sadness when he found out his master was turned into a frog by a wicked witch. The red blotch in the upper left was a symbol of how the frog was turned back into a prince by the not-so-kind princess. Instead of a kiss, in this version, she threw the frog against the wall!
This piece has also been exhibited in a previous show in 2012.
Reflections Unacquainted explores aspects of memory through symbolic elements. The webbing in the handmade papers represents the synapses for the brain's neurological structure. Word lists can be used as a tool for memory retention and idea generation. Vintage images represent past stories and experiences recalled.
I usually build my artwork around a found phrase, word combination or found object. Working this way creates opportunities for interesting coincidence. On the back of an insert I used on one of the pages, I noticed a line of numbers (05081928232). I decided to Google it using the numbers as a date. It just so happens that on August 5, 1928 at a record time of 2:32, a man name Boughera El Ouafi of France won an Olympic gold medal in the Amsterdam Marathon. And at this same Olympics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland competed as Great Britain with 232 competitors! I find it interesting that these random numbers would actually coincide with an actual event. I tried other configurations like May 8, 1928 but nothing matched the 232 in the rest of the number. When I use found objects, it's these quirky little connections that fascinate me.
The pages were created from a larger mixed media piece that I wanted to repurpose. I looked through my ephemera stash and found elements that combined well with the color palette established by the original artwork. I like to incorporate natural elements as well. The pod slice, gingko and maple leaves used on the covers add an organic feel to the imagery. I bound the book using the single-sheet sewing method developed by Keith Smith. Here are some more detail images from the book: