|Title||Sometimes, all I can do is sing.|
|Subtitle||Song of Songs 2:8-17|
|Artist / Creator||Elsi Vassdal Ellis|
|Artist's Nationality||United States|
|Place of Publication||Bellingham, WA|
|Process / Technique||Archival inkjet; die-cut circle windows|
|Structure / Binding||Coptic sewn and housed in clamshell box|
|Paper Stock||Cougar Opaque 65# cover, Natural papers|
|Number of Pages||72 pages|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||6 x 6 x .5 inches|
|Edition Size||Edition of 10|
|Signed & Numbered||Yes|
The 5th-8th century Hindu/Buddhist/Jain temples in southwest India were designed to glorify a specific quality of a deity rather than serve the faithful as a place of worship. The stone walls of these temples are inhabited by mixed-faith deities, gods and their shakti, smiling celestial musicians and nymphs. The open erotic representation of the gods and their intimacy with their shakti contrast significantly with the conservative and patriarchal living conditions of women in Indian society today (and elsewhere). This book draws upon erotic text from Song of Songs (King James translation) and titles of Christian hymns to connect illustrations of Hindu art with primarily 19th century photographs. There are two narratives. One presents the similarities of Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and/or Judaic faiths. The second focuses on the contradictions in the actions of the faithful regarding vows taken, marriage, gender status, procreation, physical/sexual/mental abuse, gender identity.
Artist BioElsi Vassdal Ellis creates books in a well-equipped studio in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1983 she has produced 121 editions (offset, letterpress, digital, stenciled, punched and cloth) as EVE Press as well 116 one-of-a-kinds. She exhibits nationally and internationally. Her work is permanently housed in many public collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, New York City Public Library, Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Grabhorn Collection in the San Francisco Public Library, and Arts of the Book Collection in the Yale University Library. Western Washington University has been her professional home since 1977 where she holds the rank of full professor and is currently the chair of the Design Department. She teaches digital pre-press, offset and letterpress printing, graphic design history, and book arts. She has also taught Honors seminars combining book history topics with the making of historical models.