Mail art by IUOMA member Chris Wells (Worthington, Ohio, USA)
October 24, 2015 - Lately, I have written about “avant tropes.” This wonderful piece Chris Wells sent is a perfect example. I have written lately that I will use a term that did not originate with but has been popularized by Mr. Ron Silliman: Postavant or Post-avant. (The related term Neo-avant garde is also used.)
Postavant is meant to describe (among other things) work being produced today in the avant garde tradition or spirit. Certainly avant modes are still dominant in mail art. The adoption/use of the term acknowledges a recognizable avant garde has been in place for possibly as long as two centuries (with antecedents as well). The avant garde is no longer new, and many of its innovations are standard practice (thus tropes). Yet work in the avant garde tradition and in the avant garde spirit remains relevant, even popular.
That brings me back to this wonderful piece Chris Wells sent. He skillfully unites asemic writing and erasure (so yet another word coined ErAsemic) into a unified work that explores both textual meaning and silence and absence. I find a certain Gertrude Style quality in the writing, which helps locate the preoccupations with both art and language in the work. The work is postmodern as well. This, then, is a wonderful instance of the integration of asemics and erasure into a single work.
Many thanks to Chris Wells. I look forward to future exchanges and learning more about his work.