Topophilia

Clamshell box with pressed plants, photographs, divining rods, cube puzzle, and exquisite corpse book, unique, 2016

Topophilia was first conceived in 2012, and has recently been updated with a new, more streamlined clamshell box and accompanying exquisite corpse booklet!

How does one search without knowing where to look? In Topophilia, readers wander through the contents of the box searching for clues about place and identity, just as one might wander through physical environments searching for connections to people and places. The cube puzzle and exquisite corpse book invite multiple iterations and interpretations of the artist’s original poem. Readers discover the text as they reveal the images; as in life, searching and discovering are processes and matters of perspective.

 

Carta Postala

Carta Postala was designed and hand bound in Bucharest, Romania. The photographs and postcards, purchased at a local flea market, reveal the quotidian joys and dramas of the Sturdza family in the volatile 1930’s, when Romanian industry and culture boomed and fascism began to take hold. Many thanks to Anca Cojocaru, Alexandra Dragus, and Denis Nicolae, my University of Bucharest students, who lovingly translated the postcards from Romanian into English.

Pivoting panel book, postcards and photographs from the 1930’s, and booklet of translations, 6.25 x 8.25 x 1.25, unique, 2015

Hard Rain, Hard Wind: A Memoir and Confessional in Found Poetry

Two-volume set, each book is 8″ x 10″, slipcase dimensions are 8.5″ x 10.5″ x 3.25″, edition of two box sets (second edition forthcoming), 2014

The family wanted my grandfather to be a dentist, like his father. Everyone called him Joe, but his birth name was Clyde Painless Frame, so that when it came time to hang his shingle outside his dental office, his name would also be his slogan: “C. Painless Frame for Your Dental Needs.” They had high hopes, but things fell apart. Joe’s father left his mother Anna for another woman, and Anna hung herself when Joe was five. Joe was raised by his grandmother Lou and grew up poor in rural Appalachia; he became a farmer, a veteran, a boilermaker, and an alcoholic.

Hard Rain, Hard Wind is a found poetry project using my family’s letters, diaries, and photographs as source material to create an artist book that facilitates a dialogue about familial dysfunction and reconciliation between myself as poet, my alcoholic grandfather Joe, and several generations of women who suffered because of Joe’s destructive behavior. The letters and diaries were written between the 1930’s and 1960’s by female members of my family and female friends of Joe, and the found poems are written by me in the voice of my grandfather. The original family documents appear alongside the found poems and artifacts from Joe’s life, creating a conversation among all of the voices.

I’d like to offer special thanks to Michelle Citron and Jenny Magnus for advising me as this project developed, and to CBAA for generous financial support through a project assistant grant.

 

Transience

Transience is a quiet, meditative visual narrative about the persistent rhythm of leaving and returning. Black and white hand cut paper, drum leaf structure, 3.75 x 5.5 in, unique, 2012

Armistice Lunch

Metal and plastic lunch pail with weapons cut from seed paper, 4” x 4” x 4”, edition of 10, 2013

Armistice Lunch comments on the serious problem of world hunger. According to Eisenhower, increasing resources for weapons production means decreasing resources for healthy food production. Make lunch, not war!

Strictly Confidential

Set of four found poetry love poems from a private collection of family letters and diaries, pamphlet stitched ingres and vellum, 7 x 5 in, edition of five sets, 2013

Jeimuzu and the Sea-Glass: A Folk Tale

illustrated story with signatures sewn into a concertina spine, 6 x 8 1/2, edition of 30, 2013

Jeimuzu and the Sea-Glass: A Folk Tale is an original short story about an old man’s sea journey and his surprising discovery on a distant shore. I wrote Jeimuzu and the Sea-Glass: A Folk Tale in 2009; in this story, one of the main characters, the old man Jeimuzu, bears the spirit of my late father, who was a traveler, farmer, artist, and adventurer who moved from rural Appalachia to live and work in Japan for the last twenty-five years of his life. The primary purpose of this project lies in my curiosity about the connections between Appalachian and Japanese cultures; by researching the cultural and geographical similarities between these two locations, I hope to discover a deeper connection between my father and me. The story contains vivid descriptions of landscape, and I use these descriptions to draw parallels between the natural environment in which I grew up with my father, and the environment in which I came to know him later in life.