The Mansion of Thought by Angela Lorenz

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Dedicated to Eleanor M. Garvey, the scholar who figured out what I was doing, and enlightened me Objects and architecture have forever been containers for ideas. Recorded history bursts with manmade structures that make knowledge visual, to aid memorization, to record information, and to enhance ritual practice geared toward each culture's concept of harmony or spiritual enlightenment. The quest for immortality, universal knowledge and paradise pervades material culture from the start. Witness these prevalent structures for conveying ideas in the last 4,000 years: the human body, the tree and the column or pillar, frequently interchangeable; the mountain and cave, difficult to separate; and the concept of path, labyrinth or circumambulation, often connected to architecture, gardens and games, adding movement to the forms. Also considered is the orientation of these constructions to features of the natural world, like planets, stars, mountains, caves, water and the cardinal directions. Over 60 paintings in watercolor give examples from cultures and religions around the world, especially those which used text to explain their ideas. The images interact in a folding picture-book that may be used to make omnipresent geometric forms: triangles, squares, cubes, hexagons, even a house shape. The case that envelops the book outlines the main categories presented. Subjects range from sacred Assyrian trees to Renaissance Cabala and memory theaters, from Humanist Bibles to Buddhism, from Chinese mirrors to Maya astronomy, from Islamic urban planning to Hindu and Jain geometry. This book builds on The Theater of Nature - Curiosity Filled the Cabinet (2002) about the history of museums from Ancient Greece through the Enlightenment in rhyming verse, watercolor and copperplate etching. The 1500's in Europe may have been a key moment for attempts to represent universal knowledge visually, but efforts to package ideas in 3-D evolved east, west, north and south.

Artist Bio

Angela Lorenz (bUSA) has been creating highly sculptural, mixed-media limited-edition artists' books in Bologna, Italy since 1989. Her training in drawing, 2-D and printmaking took place at Phillips Academy, Andover, where she made her first artists' books. She apprenticed to an Italian bookbinder on a year abroad from Brown University where she received a B.A. in fine arts and semiotics. While at Brown, where Lorenz learned papermaking and worked in the bindery of the John Hay library, she took three courses at RISD: glass sculpture, Concrete Books with Janet Zweig and Printed Books with Jan Baker, executing her first two editioned letterpress books. Lorenz's work may be found in over 100 public collections in North America and Europe, such as the Graphische Sammlung Albertina in Vienna, the Victoria&Albert's National Art Library, the British Library and Tate Library. In the US, collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art(Prints and Drawings Dept), the Fogg Art Museum(Prints and Drawings, Photography Depts), the Clark Art Museum, the National Gallery, the Walker Art Center, and the Getty Research Center, as well as numerous university collections, such as Reed College, which has the most complete collection of Lorenz's works on the West Coast. She has lectured and exhibited frequently in the US and abroad, at beaux arts academies, universities, museums, libraries and academic conferences, at MASS MoCA, Yale, Dartmouth, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, NYU and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Lorenz has critiqued at the graduate and undergraduate level at Stanford, Wellesley, Colorado College, Mills College, RISD, Camberwell College and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture where she was resident faculty in 2007. Solo exhibitions have taken place at the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, Houghton Library, the Fleet Library and Davis&Langdale, with group exhibitions at Yale University Art Gallery, the Met, New York Public Library, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, and the Portland Art Museum in Maine.