Sunday 1 July 2007

New Book - Mortal Coil

11” (28cm) width x 4” (10.5cm) height x ½” (1cm) thickness – approx.

Unfolded each page is 15” long (39cm)
Heavy grey millboard covers.
Wire binding in dark green.
Nine pages, eight of which fold-out, printed on 130gsm cartridge paper
Trace fly-leaf, title of book on embossed vertical belly-band, numbered and signed in an edition of ten, made in Brighton, United Kingdom 2007

Much of my previous work has centred around themes of advertising and anxiety, recently I have been experimenting with photo collage and hand drawn typography. I usually write my own texts, but your exhibition requirements were really interesting - affording me the opportunity to explore some new literature. In response to a forthcoming exhibition in Kentucky I started to explore the visual possibilities of the poems of Robert Penn Warren. I’ve based my book Mortal Coil on the poem, Mortal Limit by Robert Penn Warren.

The text of the poem is split into 7 sections, hand drawn typographically to emphasise key words. The typography sits above photo collages (taken in the South of England) exploring the melancholy of the landscape as it metamorphoses from undeveloped ruralscapes into urban jungles. Themes of urban decay and environmental issues are very much in focus in Britain at the moment, and it was fascinating in the poem to have aspirational descriptions of the landscape tinged with the failings of the human spirit. The book is designed to have folding pages that when opened-up reveal darker elements from the previous page. The symbol of the hawk is a reminder of the source of the text,
a favourite motif of the poet.
My book both begins and ends with the image of the hawk (a familiar icon within Penn Warren's work). The colours in the book change from greens through to blacks and reds as the threat to the landscape is realised. The book is created using a combination of photoshop, digital photography, hand drawn typography, quarkxpress and illustrator.

The title Mortal Coil derives from an archaic English expression (still in use) meaning the ‘troubles of the world’ – popularised by Shakespeare in Hamlet.

This book was created for the exhibition:

Visions and Voices: Art Inspired by Kentucky Poetry, Prose and Songwriting
7th July - 6th October 2007
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
Louisville. KY 40202