Recombinal Project

In the art department at UO us graduates participate at least once a year in something known as grad reviews. Essentially we open our studios to students, faculty, and guests of the art department to show and talk about our work and practice. I’ve had some amazing conversations and met a lot of interesting people through these experiences and this last time around I decided to create a more interactive and engaged piece.

Hokey’s remaining Doug’s cluttered the floor space. Several more got adopted!
Thinking about the way wild places seem to spark what one might call “mythological thinking”(and by this I mean thinking about beginnings, about how life has formed and reformed, and about decay, death, and newness) I was inspired to create an experimental book project that allowed viewers to become authors, selecting a few prints that would thereafter be bound into books. Over the last few weeks I’ve been drawing imagery and then printing (using screen printing and intaglio techniques) onto 10″x15” pieces of paper, each quite unique in it’s particular collisions of color and image.
I made almost 80 of these little things in the last week.
I now officially hate printmaking… 🙂
The prints are rather abstract and open ended but based upon natural patterns – ocean waves, tree rings, blooming growths and dying stumps.  I tried to leave the process of selection entirely up to the viewer-participants, only asking them to claim imagery that I will in coming weeks bind into a book for them.
An example of the front/back (recto/verso for book nerds) of one print.
Most are a bit more dense and crazy than this one.
I suppose at the core of this project lies questions about the process of meaning-making, authorship, and origins. I won’t belabor that here, and instead would like to allow the books to speak for themselves, as that is much more authentic anyway. Over the next few weeks/months I am going to be responding to the participant’s selections of imagery and, interpreting their interpretation, respond by bind the pages in forms that seem to best represent and carry the abstracted meaning and/or narrative residing in each unique page. 
Soundtrack provided by some of my favorites: Josh Garrells, Bon Iver, J. Tillman, Horse Feathers.
It definitely helped ease any sense of pressure or heaviness on those who participated.

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