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This work is by Marijo Carney
TITLE:  Cut Letter #4

It was January 2009, and the gloom and doom of the economic recession seemed to surround me at every turn. In response, I created this layered collage piece to reflect the spirit of the times and what I was feeling.

I used a piece of round handmade paper to represent our world and placed it on a 17” x 11” rectangle of thin Japanese made paper that had gestural marks as part of the paper. I used colored pencils to make letters in a variety of earthen tones to surround my paper “world” with the headlines of the most current Wall Street Journals. I added a round piece of white D’Arches hot press paper with torn edges behind the “world” so the lettering would have more contrast and thus be more readable. All this was placed on a piece of dark grey Canson paper 14” x 22” with edges torn before framing. (This grey Canson is not visible in this photo)

Using an exacto knife, I cut the word “hope” out of black paper, sprayed the back of it with water, wrinkled it, and glued the now 3 dimensional word to the composition to convey the feeling that my “hope” was battered.

#2. This work was done by Jean Formo in Minneapolis for the session “Variations on Romans”, in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.

In Reggie’s class I was introduced to lettering styles from Art Nouveau.  They fascinated me and I went on to use them in the years beyond our class. I especially admired the experimental letters of Alfred Roller (1864-1935), a principal member of the Austrian Secession movement which typified the Austrian expression of Art Nouveau. Roller was a painter, and a graphic designer. Later in his career, he designed sets for the operatic productions of Gustav Mahler. Roller’s aim was to use a unification of illustration and lettering in poster and typographic design. The lettering style in my 1988 piece is adapted from a well-known Roller creation characterized by bands of bold, condensed, pattern-like letters which create a vibrant visual texture.

The quotation from Emerson, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” seemed especially appropriate in view of the renegade nature of the young, progressive artists who were active in the Secession.

Roller was famous for his graphic posters, many of which promoted specific Secession exhibitions in Vienna. I wanted my piece to look poster-like, using bands of lettering to create a graphic rather than fine art look. I drew the bands of letters in various sizes, then painted them with gouache. The largest letters are cut-out and backed with an indigo French marbled paper. The base paper is Saint-Armand’s handmade cotton paper – slate grey. 22 x 30

#3. This work was done by Roann Mathias in Memphis for the session “Broad Edge Brush” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow.

The Earth is the Lord’s
This piece was created as a response to the gridlock assignment, in Memphis in 1998. I chose the text and lettered it out a few times.  Then I figured out the spacing, including deciding which lines to make larger and smaller. The paper that I used for the lettering was over-sized. I mixed up a dark green gouache for the lettering, instead of using black. Then I worked out how to fit the border around
the lettering. In each of the corners of the border I put an illustration for the four seasons of the year. For the background papers, I used some marbled paper, some black paper from a previous assignment, and a depiction of the world created with the saran wrap technique.  The last step was to cut out the counterspaces with an x-acto knife.

My work at the time was heavily influenced by Biblical texts, and this is a good example of that. I wanted to use the image of the world as seen from space, and spent a long time trying to find it. (The internet was not very sophisticated back then).

When I did find the right image, I stretched a piece of Arches watercolor paper on a huge board, estimated where to place the blue and green inks, and covered it with saran wrap. After it dried, I added the details of the continents. My children were all very young at the time, and my 3-year-old son came into my studio while the piece was still stretched out and exclaimed “It’s the WORLD!”  When I find a text that is meaningful to me, I usually create a series
of works based on that text. For this quote, as with most all other texts that I choose, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the technical details. It’s like solving a puzzle. During that thinking and planning stage I was sort of digesting the text, and letting its meaning sink in. After that, it’s all about process and technique for me.

Once I put the whole thing together, it seemed that the corners around the globe were missing something. So I used other texts that seemed to reinforce the meaning to fill up those spaces. Finishing this piece was very satisfying because I think I got to say everything that I was thinking about at that time.
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