Mail-art by IUOMA member WA Rodgers (Takoma Park, Maryland, USA)
June 20, 2013 - WA Rodgers is a newcomer to the Eternal Network. I have seen scans of her work posted at the IUOMA and find it highly distinctive and fascinatingly cryptic in both word and image.
WA Rodgers has expressed an interest in Trashpo and has delved into it with depth, intensity and insight. This boekie I am thrilled to have received from her easily fits the definition of Trashbook, based on her ingenious use of found material.
This is a three-fold work with a total of six frames (pages - what constitutes a page in the book is actually variable). Among book artist friends, I am known for not doing well with linear documentation. So I will try to compensate by presenting scans that show the two panels, all six pages and some close-ins.
WA Rodgers' boekie came in this elegant wrapper.
My favourite part of the work is the panel (full scan at the top; one frame here) that displays waded up trash paper that appears to be in the process of disintegration (but is in actuality preserved in situ). Much Trashpo you see is sanitized and in an excellent state of preservation. This only makes sense and is indeed only polite when you consider the work is being mailed to someone. Yet anyone who has participated in the ritual of gathering material in the streets to create Trashpo knows that it is often a grimy, gritty and dirty business. Thoughtlessly discarded consumer trash is a blight, and it becomes moreso as nature seeks to reclaim it. The genius of WA Rodgers in this boekie is that she captures this aspect of decomposing trash, giving it an unusual realism.
The Japanese Gutai Group - so influential in mail-art - was interested in the process of decay, decomposition and change that inevitably occurs in a work of art over time. Gutai emphasized the physical nature of these changes; this concept also has a metaphorical dimension that can be applied to text and image. WA Rodgers has a Gutai sensibility in this remarkable work.
This section of the piece also incorporates text with writing, further establishing its Trashpo connection. In this state of decomposition, some very interesting effects are achieved related to asemics and vispo:
In particular, this close-in reveals the breakdown and distress of the paper has produced a text only partially intelligible. Nature is (or chemistry?) is responsible for the erasure. This might be considered a kind of eco-asemics.
This frame shows more juxtaposition of materials. The process of decomposition, if anything, is highlighted even more by the strip of colour that is considerably more intact than the paper.
WA Rodgers has only given herself two panels and six frames in this work, yet she manages to be astonishingly versatile. This part of the boekie incorporates a more recognizable Trashpo collage style. The emphasis on image is pronounced, although - for instance - the red letters provide some interesting minimalist Trashpo in the classic style.
Here is a close-in. The book is highly interactive. Many different image/text combinations can be achieved by enfolding and unfolding the pages beyond what has been offered in these scans. The Trashbook was enclosed in an intriguing envelope:
Many thanks to WA Rodgers for this stunning and original work!