The books have been traveling with me from studio to studio, and I look at them every now and then, always meaning to use them in my work since they are so evocative of a different era. They are mostly novels and stories suitable for children or young adults. What attracts me to them is not really their content, but their physical appearance.
"Dancers in Mourning", deconstructed book mounted on panel with encaustic, rubber, tacks, pigment stick, 16"H x 12"W. (The title of the piece is the title of the book.)
I have been thinking about the disappearance of memory and the parallels between books without content and people without memory. What are we without our memories? Both people and books have a resonance from their previous life and a certain beauty that reflects the passage of time. I guess this wearing away by time relates to the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi where "an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing." (Juniper, Andrew (2003). Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence. Tuttle Publishing, quoted on Wikipedia).
The Clue of the Eyelash, deconstructed book mounted on panel with encaustic, rubber, tacks, pigment stick, 16"H x 12"W.
This is not to minimize the really disastrous impact of memory loss on an individual that leads to the dissolution of a person's mind. I'm choosing to focus on the part of a person that is left when memory starts to go. There is a certain peace that arrives with loss of detail and a lessening importance of those things which preoccupy us so much, mostly relating to time and relationships. In wabi-sabi "nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect" (Powell, Richard R. (2004). Wabi Sabi Simple. Adams Media quoted on Wikipedia).
Boys of Liberty, deconstructed book mounted on panel with encaustic, rubber, tacks, pigment stick, 16"H x 12"W.
So these pieces are made in the spirit of wabi-sabi in recognition of their imperfection, impermanence and changed nature.
As a former English major, I was reminded of my favorite Wordsworth poem, where he describes the sense of serene melancholy and spiritual longing of wabi-sabi.
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, With many recognitions dim and faint, And somewhat of a sad perplexity, The picture of the mind revives again: While here I stand, not only with the sense Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts That in this moment there is life and food For future years. And so I dare to hope, Though changed, no doubt, from what I was...
Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, 1798