Image & Text

The New Yorker 2.6.17 Time 2.6.17

The New Yorker 2.6.17
Time 2.6.17

Working With Image & Text is the name of the class David and are taking at the NH Institute of Art. It’s also an area of fascination for me. I love words. I love visual art. I love when they’re put together in ways that make the meaning of each bounce back and forth against each other. Looking for ways to combine image and text is what led me to make collages from newspapers and magazines. It’s not only an act of resistance, shredding and weaving the news as a reflection of the world we live in now, there’s also a possibility of beauty.

The Image & Text class is taught by Erin Sweeney, a sculptor, printer and book artist, and Glen Scheffer, a photographer. They’ll teach us how to alter digital photographs, do screen and letter press printing and book binding, and anything else they know about playing along the borders of images and text that we want to know.

Based on the first class, we’ll also learn how to let ourselves go into creating art out of everyday life, the records we keep, what we do, see and hear. Our homework — spend 10 minutes every day writing and drawing in our sketchbooks, including 1) a list of what we did, 2) a list of what we saw, 3) something we overheard 4) a drawing of what we saw.

David and I have been absorbed in our homework; our sketchbooks are open a lot more than 10 minutes a day. I’ve been drawing, pasting, cutting, folding, writing, listing, coloring, printing.

When I went to Vermont Studio Center two years ago John the Founder (he’s one of the founders and that’s what everyone calls him) greeted the gathering at dinner on Sunday night, or first meal together. He welcomed us and talked about the culture at VSC — leave the competition and judgment at the door so it doesn’t get in the way of what you came here to create. “We’re all people who, for whatever reason, like to make things. So go make things.”

I made a collage in answer to a call for artists to respond to the crisis in Syria through the medium of postcards. Art for Aleppo has organized a show and online exhibit of the postcards as a way to raise awareness and money. I made mine from a NY Times article about the evacuation of Aleppo.

“My President Was Black” by Ta-Nehisi Coates was in the January/February issue of The Atlantic. The article was excellent and intersected well with the cover photo of Obama in a crowd of jubilant supporters.

My collage of the front pages of the January 21 and January 22 NY Times, the inauguration of Trump dominating the 21st and the Women’s March dominating the 22nd, came out darker than I’d imagined. The joy of January 22 was real and delicious but was still shadowed by the inauguration, a shadow I walk out of everyday.

Yesterday I wove the New Yorker cover of a reimagined Rosie the Riveter in a pussy hat with the Time cover of a pussy hat underneath the title The Resistance Rises, How A March Becomes A Movement.

We all keep moving towards justice and freedom, that’s how we create a movement. I’m having fun and satisfying something really deep by combining images and text. But I also make phone calls and send emails almost every day  — reps, senators, Governor Sununu, the House Ethics Committee — picking actions from the news and the multiple resources that have been created to keep the resistance strong.

The luck that led me to a life with time to do all this amazes me. I’m squeezing that luck to get every bit of good out of it I can.

 

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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6 Responses to Image & Text

  1. LOVE this grace on every level. Your ability to create beauty with words through your poetry and now combining words/news/print with visual images is outstanding, and I’m a hard critic to please. Very inspiring. thank you for sharing!

    • Grace Mattern says:

      Thanks so much, Andrea. Your kind words about my work mean a lot to me because I admire your work so much. I love seeing your paintings as I scroll through Instagram and Facebook. You create a lot of beauty too.

  2. granettestater says:

    Grace, you might enjoy my friend’s artwork; she’s been using letters and words (some English, some Hebrew) in her art for decades and has even done some collaborative work with an artist in China who adds Chinese lettering to the art. http://judithmargolis.com

    On Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 4:16 PM, The Premise Is Grace wrote:

    > Grace Mattern posted: ” Working With Image & Text is the name of the class > David and are taking at the NH Institute of Art. It’s also an area of > fascination for me. I love words. I love visual art. I love when they’re > put together in ways that make the meaning of each bo” >

    • Grace Mattern says:

      Thanks for the link to Judith website. I just took a quick look and was very impressed and intrigued. I’ll be checking her out more.

  3. Melissa says:

    I really enjoy your work. As a weaver I started thinking about adding fiber and then my mind started taking your weaving and adding movement, shaping it to 3D, backlighting,…..art is wonderful. The class sounds so interesting and a excellent way to learn and grow. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Grace Mattern says:

    It’s always nice to hear from you Melissa. We made zines last night in class, and I used photos of my collages and made a little book (zine) out of pieces of the collages — a collage of collages. Very fun. And I’ve thought too about starting to put some fibers in my collages. I love the idea of movement. Maybe threads hanging so they move in the wind. . . . . Art is such a nourishing space for my soul in this difficult world.

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