Ledger Lines, 2022
Created for RE-covery II (43 Artists Re-Imagine 43 Books)
Curated by Michele Burgess & Bill Kelly
Art Around Books (5 Canal Street, Bellows Falls, VT)
Opening Reception: October 15, 2022 (3pm-7pm)
October 15-January 2, 2023
Ledger Lines description:
This Vermont General Store ledger (1829-1830) is full of names, prices, and sundries, recording various purchases by local townspeople. Ruth Antoinette Rodriguez, poet and bookstore owner of Antidote Books (Brattleboro, VT), gifted this book to me. She knew I used ledgers in my artwork. Immediately, I was inspired by the exquisite handwriting and meticulous record-keeping found throughout the ledger’s 400+ original pages. However, the book sat in my studio for nearly 2 years before I knew how I would use it. RE-covery II provided the perfect opportunity to work with the book, rescuing it from being kept as just another artifact in my collection.
I used natural indigo ink and some gold mica ink to transform the book with the repeating symbol of a line. The unbound pages, in their weathered beauty and once-mundane practicality, serve as the perfect backdrop for each drawing. Each page is unique. Some pages contain hundreds of lines. Others contain one line. While others contain shapes that began with the gesture of a line. As the book transformed, the form of the line transformed.
Ledger Lines is both a complete artwork and an artwork that contains many pieces of artwork within it. The process was performative, an act of repetition that was meditative. On the cover, I painted an imaginal landscape, focused around a burn mark that was present when I received the book. The burn mark reminded me of a sacred symbol or a punctuating gesture. It hints at the power of a single mark amidst a vast landscape, like a punctuation mark that impacts the expression of a series of words.
Viewers may purchase individual pages in the order that the pages appear. Once purchased, the buyer must sign their name on the corresponding line behind the front cover. By purchasing a page, the buyer is a participant in the performative nature of the project.
(All ink used in Ledger Lines was made by Katherine West.)