About this piece:
Beckoning is about gravitational force, both in the physical, literal sense of the moon pulling at the earth’s oceans to generate tides, and in the psychological phenomenon of being drawn to the moon and to the sea. The content of the book is largely its materials themselves. It is composed of delicate handmade papers and has limited text aside from the Pablo Neruda poem, It is Born, which is letterpress-printed on the final pages. The imagery in the book was created with paper pulp, and with sand, thread, or hair that was embedded in the sheets as the paper was made. Because the paper is translucent, the composition of each spread is defined by what appears within, behind and on the surface of the pages, causing an ambiguity of depth that pulls the viewer through the layers. The large landscape format speaks to the expanse of the sea and the firmament, and the luminosity and subtle whispering sounds of the paper capture some of their compelling visual and aural qualities.
Beckoning is a visual and aural meditation on the sea and the sky. I focused on working with the paper itself to generate the content, mixing different types of pulp and adding inclusions as sheets were formed. The first section, titled Overture: Susurrous, consists of several delicate blank pages that rustle as they are turned, suggesting the sound of waves on the shore. A reflection on the falling tide, the thin, translucent sheets progress through a gradient of color from deep indigo to unpigmented. In the second section, Pull and Beckon, partially obscured forms are gradually revealed and then disappear again as pages are turned. Moving through the layers is akin to traveling through the depths of the ocean, or glimpsing the luminous orb of the moon through drifting clouds. A variable edition of three, the book is bound in a Japanese-stab style, with covers of plexiglass laminated in handmade paper to carry the theme of translucency throughout.
handmade papers, sand, hair, linen thread, plexiglass
About the artist:
Karen Hardy works with innovative hand papermaking techniques in a variety of forms, including artist books, sculpture, and installation. Her practice is centered on an experimental approach to materials, influenced by her background in the natural sciences. She is a graduate of the book arts & printmaking MFA Program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.