EXPERIMENTAL EDITIONS

I am teaching Experimental Editions an 8-week intensive workshop in the letterpress studio
of Penland School of Crafts in the Spring 2018. The class will run from March 11-May 4th. The focus of the workshop will be creating meaningful content through experimentation. The course will cover the basics of letterpress printing and binding for editions and portfolios. Presentations, readings, and prompts will spark conversation and support individual practices and goals. The deadline to apply for scholarships is November 28th. Information to register can be found here. Non-scholarship registration will run until the class is filled.

Students of all studio backgrounds are encouraged to register. We will be looking at letterpress and artists' books within the context of contemporary art and writing. Historical examples of experimentation with text and publishing in the Dada, Fluxus, and Conceptual Art movements will also be explored. While gaining a firm understanding of traditional techniques, we will look at how artists use sound, video, and performance in tandem with the book, and ask how can craft be used to resonate and amplify the concepts in our work.

CLASS DESCRIPTION: http://penland.org/print/index.html
SCHOLARSHIPS: http://penland.org/classes/spring/spring_scholarships.html
REGISTRATION: http://penland.org/classes/spring/spring_registration.html

Class Description of Experimental Editions from the Penland Catalog

Class Description of Experimental Editions from the Penland Catalog

HIEROGLYPHIC SILENCE

In September, I spent two weeks at Wells College as a scholar in residence at the invitation of the Wells Book Arts Center and String Room Gallery.

Detail of Hieroglyphic Silence I, letterpress, 2017

Detail of Hieroglyphic Silence I, letterpress, 2017

The Wells Book Arts Center, housed in a classic college building with oversize doors and stone architectural details is a beautiful place to work. I had a studio room to myself with a Universal I Vandercook press. Cayuga Lake is just across the road. The letterpress studio holds a large collection of vintage and rare foundry type which I decided to utilize for a series of new prints in the vein of Small Fires. Poking around the drawers, I found one marked "Egyptian" and saw it was a selection of tiny Egyptian revival borders and ornaments, including two tiny Gardiner style icons, one of a bird, and one of a seated mummy.

Hieroglyphic Silence I, letterpress, 2017

Hieroglyphic Silence I, letterpress, 2017

I'd just reread Egyptologist and author Susan Brind Morrow's The Dawning Moon of the Mind, a poetic analysis of The Pyramid Texts and was thinking about her straightforward description of hieroglyphics as pictures that are letters and pictures that are pictures. They are both pictographic and phonetic. They are to be read individually to spell out words but also together in associated groupings to add important context and specificity to their meaning.

Detail of Hieroglyphic Silence II, letterpress, 2017

Detail of Hieroglyphic Silence II, letterpress, 2017

I'd also been thinking about this in relation to William S Burroughs thoughts on language as a method of control.  He believed in order to break the control, one had to rub out the word. Nullify it. Find hieroglyphic silence.

Hieroglyphic Silence II, letterpress, 2017

Hieroglyphic Silence II, letterpress, 2017

Isn't it interesting that the Ancient Egyptian language of silences omits vowels from it's written form? And what is a language that cannot be read, if not pictures that are letters and pictures that are pictures?

I keep returning to Burroughs and Egypt in my thoughts. It is a conversation. I've felt an affinity to both for many years. Burroughs believed in dreams and I believe in dreams. Silent films removed from time. Burroughs dreamed of Egypt and I dream of Egypt. Crocodiles in mud. Crouched in a marsh, holding a frantic dog by the neck. Even a waking dream once, the sound of trickling water and the heat of an early morning sun on my face.

I once had a dream of standing behind him, very old and wearing his hat, before a very large book. My hand over his. Running our fingers over the words on the pages.

 

Ultrices

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend a few days collaborating on a book with Leah Mackin, who's work I've admired for a long time. That book is Ultrices, an artist's book about place, systems, and chance. Each book is unique, this is a selection of page spreads from the edition. The book is available for sale, details in the link if you're interested.

Colophon: Ultrices is a collaboration about place, systems, and chance by Marianne Dages and Leah Mackin. Conceived, drawn, printed, and bound by the artists at Huldra Press in Philadelphia. 2016. Variable Edition of 40 books.

The text was generated using the pdf and Google Translate as chance operations. Its source is Sigmund Freud's essay, "The Mystic Writing Pad."

Available for $140, please contact if interested.
Each book is unique, this is a selection of images from the edition. There is a gallery of more images at my website HERE.



Beisinghoff Printmaking Residency

I am in Rhoden, Germany for one month as an artist in residence at the Beisinghoff Printmaking Residency. I am getting settled in and went for a long walk today to look and listen. My plan is to make new prints, possibly an artist book, that will use and respond to the materials I find here. The presses here are all hand inking only, so I also want to challenge myself to loosen my hand and experiment with monoprints, and layers.

 :: found words ::

 :: sign fence ::

:: composing stick ::

Stations


I started writing Stations in the winter. I had just installed a solo exhibition and with that came a familiar feeling of exhaustion and doubt. Almost every night, I found myself watching a Youtube video from the movie Christine F of David Bowie performing Station to Station.  Over and over. In the film, Bowie enters slowly in red, a sweeping green curtain behind him. The song begins with a mechanical grind, then a beat like a giant's plodding steps. There is smoke in the air and in the words. I was fascinated by its pageantry.

Here are we, one magical moment, such is the stuff
From where dreams are woven
Bending sound, dredging the ocean, lost in my circle
Here am I, flashing no color
Tall in this room overlooking the ocean
Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth
There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station 

And with the words are gestures. Gestures of power, and magic, and beauty, as the song swells towards its manic conclusion. 

I took screen shots and collected them in a file. And I started writing a poem for each song of Station to Station. Then David Bowie was gone.  I watched the video over and over in tears. I finished the poems, did a reading of the poems, and put them aside.

The last two weeks, I taught a letterpress workshop at Penland School of Crafts, it was called "Text as Image, Type as Thought." The focus was on the visual and conceptually potential of working with text. I worked with the most wonderful group of students, and their endless energy is what inspired me to finish this book.

Recently, three of the poems were published in the The Found Poetry Review's special issue of David Bowie inspired poetry. You can read those here

Each poem is written using Google Translate and a song from Station to Station as sources of ideation. The covers are letterpress printed, the inside of the book is are single color photocopy prints. There is an edition of ten in blue, and ten in gray. This is the blue edition.








Lost in Transit

A few shots of my work up at SOIL Artist Run-Gallery in Seattle, WA, part of the terrific group show Lost in Transit. Thank you Ricky Yanas for these great photographs!


:: Left to Right, Alexis Nutini, Douglas Witmer, Me (Inheritance), Me (Ocean), and Ezra Mauch ::


:: Inheritance, Lead and Fine Woodworking Magazines, 2015 ::


:: Left, Ocean, letterpress on paper, 2015 ::

Lost in Transit explores mythologies of disappearance, the anxiety of travel, and the precarious nature of man-made structures in the work of eighteen Philadelphia artists. Using H. John Thompson’s 2014 sculptural project Holding Our Own (2014), the focus of which is the legend of DB Cooper, the only unsolved airline hijacking in US history, as a jumping-off point, the members of each gallery were prompted to dig into their own bodies of work (new and old) to find formal and contextual similarities that would link them to this loaded subject. In doing so the exhibition acts as a kind of detective tale looking for clues, piecing together bits of information, and attempting to follow elusive threads of continuity and synchronicity within a diverse collection of styles and practices.

The exhibition includes pieces by Marc Blumthal, Marianne Dages, Christina P. Day and Ricky Yanas that engage in the distortion, breakdown, and absence of their subjects. Prints and sculpture by Alexis Granwell, Leslie Friedman,Terri Saulin Frock, and Tamsen Wojtanowski suggest complex and elusive languages that exist outside the realm of logic and rationality. A selection of suitcases made especially for Tiger Strike Asteroid Philadelphia’s space in December’s Artist-Run at The Satellite Show Miami Beach will also be included. These subversive objects hint at the tricky nature of contemporary navigation and travel while also referring to the gallery’s own institutional history.

Together, the works selected for this exhibition form a conceptual trajectory that moves viewers in and out of iconic and banal imagery, ethereal and hardedge forms, light and dark spaces, and into a search for something that may have never been there.

Artists: Todd Baldwin, Marc Blumthal, Mark Brosseau, Lewis Colburn, Christina P. Day, Marianne Dages, William DiBello, Leslie Friedman, Terri Saulin Frock, Alexis Granwell, Ezra Masch, Alexis Nutini, Joanna Platt, Kayla Romberger, H. John Thompson, Douglas Witmer, Tamsen Wojtanowski, Ricky Yanas

A couple more shots of the show in its entirety. The show looks incredible, I wish I could see it in person! Thank you to everyone at SOIL and Marc, Ricky, John, and Mark and everyone else who worked so hard to plan, install, and make it happen.



Winter News

A Two-week Letterpress Workshop at Penland School of Crafts

This workshop will focus on experimental applications of traditional letterpress techniques and the role of text in art. We’ll investigate how wood and metal type and common print shop materials can create unique textures, refined imagery, and meaningful content. We’ll draw inspiration from the Penland type collection and from artists who use text as prompt and image. You’ll learn to set type, fold simple book forms, and print on a Vandercook proof press. Each student will take home a collection of prints and a new appreciation of the printed word in all its forms. All levels. Code 01L

Studio artist; teaching: Tyler School of Art (Philadelphia), University of the Arts (Philadelphia), Common Press (Philadelphia); Herhusid residency (Iceland); collections: Museum of Modern Art (NYC), St. Bridge Foundation (UK), School of the Art Institute of Chicago; exhibitions: Print Gallery Tokyo, International Print Center (NYC). mariannedages.com

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Friday, January 29th, 6-8pm
Readings begin at 6:15 p.m., reception following until 8:00 p.m


:: Marianne Dages, Dictionary I, Gouache, pencil, and silver point on paper ::

Jacintha Clark, Marianne Dages and Nichola Kinch present in collaboration three, short experimental performances in conjunction with the Wind Challenge 2 series. Each artist has selected a piece of text related to their work to be performed in the space of their solo exhibitions in the style and method of their choosing. Live and one night only.

Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA

Exhibition runs December 4th -January 30th
Monday-Thursday- 9am-9pm
Friday- 9am-5pm
Saturdays- 9-4pm

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NAPOLEON Collective at COOP Gallery
January 2- January 31 2016


COOP Gallery and the NAPOLEON Artist Collective in Philadelphia are pleased to present Far More Real, a group exhibition featuring members of the NAPOLEON collective in a month-long exchange between the two spaces.

Far More Real is a group show from the members of the NAPOLEON Collective in Philadelphia that examines the work of each artist-member through Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.

More about COOP:
COOP is a curatorial collective made up of artists, curators, thinkers and professors who are committed to expanding Nashville’s dialogue with contemporary art by presenting challenging new or under-represented artists/artworks to our community. COOP is committed to exhibiting art of diverse media and content, with a goal to provide an alternative venue for artists free from the constraints of the retail market. COOP seeks to initiate a discourse between Nashville and art scenes across the country by inviting artists to show, develop projects and interact with the Nashville community.

Wind Challenge, Opening December 3rd

::Marianne Dages, Veil (detail), letterpress print on okawara paper, 2015 ::

If you are near or around Philadelphia, I am very honored and excited to be taking part in the Wind Challenge Exhibition series. I will be debuting a series of printed and drawn work.

"Established in 1978, the Wind Challenge Exhibition Series is an annual juried competition that is committed to enriching and expanding people’s lives through art. Three Wind Challenge Exhibitions are held from September through May, featuring the work of exceptional artists living in the Philadelphia region."

December 4-January 30
Opening Reception is December, 3rd from 6-8

Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia

I hope you can join us!

::Marianne Dages, Ka (detail), letterpress print on okawara paper, 2015 ::


Pagus, 12 x 12, and Pluto

This summer/fall, I participated in two portfolio exchanges, 12 x 12 and a Pluto Print Exchange. I also have new work on in an exhibition at Pagus Gallery in Norristown. 

First, the new installation, Future Ritual is included in the exhibition PRESS PLAY at Pagus Gallery. This exhibition includes print-based works by artists Marc Blumthal, Sarah Bourne Rafferty, Marianne Dages, Michael Kowbuz, Lauren Pakradooni, and Stacy Rosende. 

:: Marianne Dages, detail of the installation Future Ritual, 2015 ::

The exhibition, curated by Lisa Sylvester, looks at the varied ways in which contemporary artists work in printmaking, and at how play and experimentation with process and materials shape meaning and provoke new questions for the artist to grapple with.

Pagus Gallery 
October 1st – November 13th 2015
619 W. Washington St.
Norristown, PA 19401

12 x 12, curated by Trevor Powers, is an artists' book/zine swap including the work of six Massachusetts and six regional/national artists that considered the number twelve in one way or another.I contributed An End, an eight page folded letterpress book that considers references time and endings. The 12th hour.

The text reads, She is the color of black burning fire and of things which have come to an end.

The image used over and over in the book is of a mirror in the process of shattering.


:: 12 x 12 box ::


:: Bottom Center, Marianne Dages, An End, 3.875” x 6.25”, 8 pages ::

The other exchange was print based, and the theme of the exchange, the planet Pluto. For this a wrote a text titled Preparation Ceremony using the Orphic Hymn to Pluto as source of ideation. The text has a futuristic tone to it, and it written like a letter from one entity to another...

My dear receiver,
It is later in life
I have accessed a powerful sequence
where the end is not a color
It makes me feel humble and chthonic
I am heavy with knowledge
like fruit
I am so secure...


The print is a 3-color letterpress monoprint and text. 

:: Marianne Dages, Preparation Ceremony, Letterpress on paper, 9" x 9", 2015 ::

Shane Darwent: Southside All Stars

This month I am curating a solo exhibition of work by Shane Darwent at Napoleon Gallery. Shane and I met at Penland School of Crafts, we were both in the core fellowship program and were roommates. We collaborated on a series together titled Five a few years ago. In the last couple of years, I've been following his work with great interest, watching him combine the mediums of photography and sculpture in new ways. It's been a pleasure working with him to put this show together. Rachel White wrote an excellent essay for the exhibition, which you can read here.

The exhibition opens this Friday from 6-10pm (more info below). We hope to see you there!


Southside All Stars

A SOLO-EXHIBITION BY SHANE DARWENT, CURATED BY NAPOLEON MEMBER MARIANNE DAGES

In Southside All Stars, litter-dappled grass becomes a painterly celebration of grotesque beauty. Colorful, plastic still-lives are like empty sets, ripe with possible narratives. Darwent draws inspiration from the semi-urban landscape of his Chattanooga neighborhood and presents photographs and sculptures that encourage us to contemplate the role of material culture in our lives and in the lives of a community at the edge of opportunity. 
Opening Reception
First Friday, August 7th
6pm – 10pm
NAPOLEON
319 N 11th Street, 2L
Philadelphia, PA
Exhibition Dates: 8.7.2015 – 8.28.2015
Galllery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays 2pm – 6pm or by appointment

Haystack, Maine

I just got back from two weeks in Maine at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. I took a class taught by Rachel Meginnes, Triple Knot: Stitching, Writing, and Conversation. It was incredibly interesting to work outside my usual medium. Although while working with thread and cloth, I did manage to turn paper into "cloth" through the technique of shifu, a spun paper thread. It was a wonderful class, full of interesting conversations and new ideas. 

And next Friday, I am driving down to Penland School of Crafts to assist Jana Harper's class The What & the Why: Books as Idea Generators...

:: branch weaving ::

:: paper weaving ::

:: lichen hanging on a lichen thread ::

:: little experiments I made in the class ::

:: Penobscot Bay ::

:: halftone colors ::

:: pink lichen ::

Website Updated, & More News

:: Marianne Dages, Cloud Copy, transfer paper, paper clay, letterpress, 2015 ::

I recently updated my website, to reflect some of the work I've done in the last six months. There is lots of new work, new arrangements, new prints, and two new editions, A Single Frequency and Poems for Passing Ships

I am also working on a new book, as yet untitled, involving mirrors and text.

:: New book ! ::

Back in January, I was interviewed for a segment about the art of the book for the WHYY program Articulate with Jim Cotter. 

The segment which includes footage of my process and work, will air two more times.

- Thursday, 7/30 at 10:30 pm
- Sunday, 8/7 at 1 pm.



:: Clip with Articulate with Jim Cotter ::

If you don't have WHYY, you can still watch the full episode HERE, just the segment on books as art HERE and an interview extra with me about the value of art HERE.

This July, I will be assisting a Jana Harper's class, The What & the Why: Books as Idea Generators this summer at Penland School of Crafts. 

 :: Books by Jana Harper ::

The class runs July 5th - the 17th, there may even be a spot or two left, check HERE if you're interested in enrolling. I'm really looking forward to this, Jana is an amazing artist, this is going to be a fascinating class, the kind that will supply you with ideas for years to come.

And last but not least, if you missed the Summer Newsletter, with upcoming exhibitions and publications, you can read it HERE and sign up HERE to receive future ones every couple of months.  

Alaska Journal

I've been on a bookbinding roll lately, trying to refine my hardcover binding technique and find the best possible way to refill old books. My goal is to make attractive, durable bindings that do not obscure the books original endpapers. 

This book is one I've had for several years, I bought it at a thrift store. In fact, it's appeared on this blog before. It's a National Geographic Collection of articles about Alaska. I read the book cover to cover (I am fascinated by cold, remote places) and kept it because I thought the cover design was lovely. 

The best part is that I was able to remove the library card from the discarded portion of the book and place it onto the back endsheet, a nice detail I thought. 

:: Alaska, cover :: 

:: Front inside, with original endsheets, new matching cloth hinge, and a new text block ::

 :: The book's original library card, salvaged and reattached ::