About this piece:
Wayfinding Star documents departure from latitude 42.562 / longitude -73.1629 (Cheshire, MA where I live) to latitude 45.4343 / longitude 12.3388 (Venice, Italy where I spent winter 2016). Each line in the middle layer represents latitude and longitude lines, demonstrating the closeness in latitude but distance in longitude. The text on the front layer recounts experiences navigating in Venice as I lost and found my way, always listening for the toll of church bells, the back layer of the book. The eight-point star references the compass rose and the many geometrical patterns centered on the number eight encountered throughout Venice.
Text on front layer of book. (portion–each paragraph is on page spread) She peers out from underneath the veil, not really looking but holding the veil up to let in light and a bit of air. It’s cold, a winter morning in Venice. Damp light mingles with fog that soaks up the sun’s warmth like cotton. Pausing. Not really lost-merely calibrating to the maze of streets and canals that intersect and cross, confusing her understanding of true north. Straight on the map could be a series of quick right and left turns. She tries again. How did she possibly think that going alone was a good idea? She’s pushing against her skin, trying to get out of her muscles and veins as she picks her way through the streets, wanting resolution from this stillness but stuck in the everydayness of the cell. The veil helps. Many layers of heavy damask enrobe her body. She parts it to let in the scent from the sea, like the incense of prayer from her childhood, wrapping her in another cloak.
binders board, papers, ink, gesso, acrylic, graphite
About the artist:
Lives and works in Cheshire, Massachusetts, United States
Melanie Mowinski founded PRESS: Letterpress as a Public Art Project, a hybrid space centered around an operating Vandercook in 2011. PRESS anchored Main Street, North Adams for five years, and served as a downtown hub for students from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where Mowinski is an associate professor. Her books are in collections nationally and internationally. She is the 2016 Individual Artist grant recipient in western Massachusetts, which helped fund residencies at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice and at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in 2016.