This project is the second in a series of artworks stemming from the experience of reading Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia.
In the summer of 2010 I spent a month in the gallery at Reed College listening to a recording of Willa Cather’s 1918 novel, My Ántonia. I had wanted to put myself in the position of a first-time reader and respond to the story however it moved me. I assumed I would draw directly on the walls as I listened and that this would be the basis for the exhibition. Instead I was amazed and captivated by the pure gorgeousness of Cather’s writing. What took me by surprise was how emotional this experience became. Listening each day to her descriptions of the landscape and the sky brought me to tears, the kind that have no root in sadness or nostalgia but came from a place deep in my being. I surrendered myself to her words, retyping excerpts onto many scraps of paper and pinning them to the walls of the gallery or suspending them from fishing line for viewers to bump into.
Using the entire floor of the gallery, I mapped out the novel with colored drafting and electrical tapes, assigning a color and size to each character. The end result resembled a map of the London Underground and the room was a kind of exploded view of the novel. Visitors navigated the story as they roamed around the gallery.
This project represents a desire to put this experience back into book form. It features five automatic drawings made while listening to the novel, printed as etchings. A cloth-bound book of hand set letterpress-printed excerpts accompanies this. A large fold-out map of how I see the novel, printed as a large etching with letterpress text, is housed inside the book along with one piece of text from the original Reed College installation.
This project is co-published by Triangular Press, Portland and The Hartford Art School Print Workshop, West Hartford, CT.
|Title||Mining My Ántonia; Excerpts, Drawings, and a Map|
|Press Name/Publisher||Triangular Press and Hartford Print Workshop, University of Hartford|
|Place of Publication||Portland, OR and West Hartford, CT|
|Author of Text/Poet||Willa Cather|
|Printing/ Reproduction Process||Letterpress, etching|
|Medium/ Materials||Mining My Ántonia is a portfolio containing five automatic drawings/etchings, a book of excerpted text from the novel, a pull-out map, and a fragment from the 2010 installation at Reed College. The book is bound as a soft-cover pamphlet using reproduction fabrics from the late 1800s. The portfolio is cloth-covered binder's board and features a wood frame to house and display the prints.|
|Dimensions (WxH) or (WxHxD)||Open: 17 x 10 x .25 inches|
|Edition Size||Edition of 30|
|Signed and Numbered?||Yes|