RECEIVED: Haptic Mail-Art and Studio Scraps from Helen Amyes (York, Western Australia)

Mail-art by Helen Amyes (York, Western Australia)

 

February 7, 2011 - Helen Amyes sent me this colorful mail-art made from her studio scraps - excellent recycling! She is, I believe, primarily a painter. Since we became friends last June, I have seen Helen eagerly explore many facets of mail-art and integrate them seamlessly into her work. She was already a skilled collage artist, and her work has expanded in that area. Helen has ventured with great success into FluXus, vispo, asemics, and haptic poetry - while all the time maintaining her distinctive style and vision. The piece above is haptic - very tactile and I love the bubble wrap. She seems to be drawing upon the FluXus influence (thanks for thinking of me, Helen) for this particular piece; it's hardly characteristic of other work I have seen, but that's one thing I admire about Helen - her willingness to experiment. The haptic intention is clearly stated on the envelope:

The stamping is great, but for the longest time I thought I had received a piece from Katerina Nikoltsou (Greece). Helen Amyes is involved in an extraordinary number of projects here at the IUOMA and beyond. I did not completely grasp she was so involved in what amounts to a haptic renaissance being led by Bifidus Jones (Minnesota, USA). Helen has certainly mastered the aesthetic. More evidence for the FluXus nod in this piece can be found on the other side of the envelope:

Fluxus Oz? New to me. I also think Helen has a healthy sense on humor. I know she does. When I opened the envelope, all this confetti spilled out, sending Simba (the world's third most amazing mail-art dog) into a frenzy. (Although what's going on with some of those bits looks more than random.) I recall that some time back I was throwing all kinds of scraps into mail-art envelopes. I did not think much about what happened when people opened them. Was this some payback from Helen? Or belated holiday cheer? Here are some smaller pieces from the batch Helen sent me:

It's always wonderful to receive mail from Helen. She is busy with shows and residencies in Australia, and I'm glad she is able to stay active in mail-art. Her work is always thoughtful; she enriches projects. I am so looking forward to her contributions to mail-art books. Actually, I can't wait to see what she'll do in this area. Many thanks and many more exchanges, Helen!

 

MAIL-ART PSYCHIC

I

You receive a puzzling add-and-pass(ion). Here is how you should respond: A guy walks into a bar with a dog. He claims the dog can talk. "Give me a beer and I'll show you." The bartender slides a beer to him and the man asks the dog, "Fido, what is that above our heads?" The dog says, "Roof!" The irritated bartender says, "That's not talking, he sounds like any other dog." The man says, "OK, how about this - Fido, who was the best baseball player of all time?" The dog says, "Ruth!" The bartender throws the man and the dog out of the bar. Fido says to the man, "Ya think I shouldda said DiMaggio?"

 

Mail-art color of the day: quartz

 

Mail-art words for the day: peanut butter (crunchy)


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Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 10, 2011 at 2:20pm
Hi Helen, I'm glad you were able to see your piece arrived safely in the US amidst all your travails. I do hope you and your family are returning to normalcy. Keep us posted. Ah, yes, the Haptic Front - Bifidus and Katerina are leading us to new frontiers. Helen, send me your studio scraps any time.
Comment by Marie Wintzer on February 8, 2011 at 3:36am
Yes, I recently got a card from her, I like her. The "figurine" reminds me of African art (without wanting to put a label on it).
Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 8, 2011 at 3:28am
Hi Janine, I am glad you like Helen's work. Haptic poetry is the idea of art that you touch as well as see with your eyes. Our mutual friend Erni Baer is doing good work in this area. So perhaps you know about it. The influence of Fluxus artists is here also. Thanks - I enjoy seeing your work at the IUOMA. You are very talented.
Comment by De Villo Sloan on February 8, 2011 at 1:31am
At first I thought of a cactus, but figurine fits better. This work is not as random or thrown together as you might think. Helen takes great care with everything. I'm not sure if you know her; she's pretty great.
Comment by Marie Wintzer on February 7, 2011 at 11:56pm
My favorite part is that turquoise figurine, a piece of art on its own. Great!

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