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current stretcher TWCDC public art drawings

The Commonwealth of Art

book project
9.5" x 6.6" x 1.5"
highlighter, white-out, graphite
2001/2002

cover inside cover
page 1 page 2

I am working with an old art book called the Commonwealth of Art which was de-accessioned from the library at the San Francisco Art Institue. I am using it as a template of sorts, reading the book and cutting bits out as well as using additive materials such as pink highlighter, whiteout and pencil marks. My re-reading, re-interpretation of the book is becoming more than a response to the book itself , it also became a response to the current situation as images of fire emerged and violent words were highlighted and so forth.

I found the book awhile back in the throwaway bins on the steps outside the library at SFAI, probably one year or so ago. I don't know why I picked it up, I just did. many times i will collect items and put them away in my studio until some lightbulb hits and then they suddenly become relevant and can be utilized. well, this residency in New Zealand began to take shape and then became a reality and somehow, this book, which i had always intended to use in some way, became relevant to this particular experience. The most obvious connection is New Zealand being part of the British Commonwealth. Through that connection, i decided to explore a bit of those ties through this old fashioned book about the integration of various artistic disciplines.

Also, this residency is for writers as well as artists and the book symbolized that link for me as well. Why i decided to cut bits out as well as interact with the text using white out, pencil and pink highlighter is harder to put words to. A gut feeling really, the book itself is green so the pink highlighter makes sense with the coloring of the book cover. I have used white out in other projects but as strictly an additive, not a subtractive process. Here it works in both ways, along with the pencil.

Also, the cut-out bits of text and the other elements respond to the written text in some way as well as to each other. Formal shapes and motifs are repeated throughout the chapters such as circles, squares, triangles and more irregular shapes. Layering of the cut-out bits and additive elements occurs, so you can see other pages through the cuts, sometimes more than two pages can be seen at one time. This somehow also makes sense with the new levels of meaning that somehow have been foisted upon us, upon it. Now, it is just not the meaning of the materials themselves and the many levels in which they interact with each other, and the meaning of the text in combination with the above, and the meaning of New Zealand as part of the Commonwealth but also struggling with it's own identity as a separate nation, now this new charge has been overlayed as well.