More Than Words

7 April – 15 June 2012

Four Depot Square Artists: Deborah Read Belguendouz, Jeanne Borofsky, Jan Cadman Powell, Joyce Collier Fearnside

Jeanne Borofsky, Conditional Spiral,
encaustic assemblage on cradled panel
(Click on images to enlarge)

Four artists who exhibited together at the Depot Square Gallery in Lexington, Massachusetts are finding new ways to work together and to bring the results of their independent and collaborative work into the public realm now that the gallery has closed. This show, designed with the public library exhibition space in mind, expands the concept of the artist's book. Beginning with four sturdy cigar boxes, Deborah Read Belguendouz, Jeanne Borofsky, Joyce Collier Fearnside and Jan Cadman Powell have made a series of collaborative artists' books specifically for this show. Each artist created a collection of papers, prints and paintings personalized with their own imagery, techniques, and colors to share with the others.

Deborah Read Belguendouz's book seems to want to burst forth from the confinement of the cigar box. She writes on one of the first pages: "This book is very messy. I tried to make it neat and perfect." She is a painter of bold impressions, bright colors, and large marks, requiring no apology. With loopy, Mattisse-like cutout shapes, as seen in her journals, collaborative book, and the collage "One Fine Day," she creates compositions that bristle with energy and scintillating color.

In "Moroccan Door Journal," Deborah combines hand written text, her signature loopy lines and forms, sketchbook drawing and exuberant colors to bring the journal format alive on a wood door from Morocco, signifying the years she spent living in Northern Africa. The door is divided into panels, but like her book, the drawings spill over the raised edges of the panels, as if her story cannot be contained by man-made boundaries.

Jan Cadman Powell, There's an
App for That
, blind embossing,
burnt paper, wood, fabric, paint

Jan Cadman Powell's aesthetic is quieter, refined and precise. She is more Miro/ Kandinsky than Matisse, referencing technology and the internet in her titles. Using cut and folded papers, monotype, etching, deep embossing and burnt paper marks, she makes quietly powerful pieces that compel the viewer with their subtlety.

In "There's An App For That," Powell uses burnt paper marks on folded paper to create strips that are superimposed over a hanging of three wide strips of heavy paper deeply embossed with thin rope and other objects. The wooden dowels gleam with a hint of glitter, adding to the element of dross. There's an irony, here, in the reference to applications for the internet in a work that is entirely handmade. The back of her collaborative book is a woven collage of strips of papers from the group, a creatively low tech closing statement.

Jeanne Borofsky, Stone, detail,
encaustic altered book with drawings and stones

References to technology infuse Jeanne Borofsky's work as well, but in three dimensions. She includes bits of circuit boards in several of her pieces, including the "Manuscript" series and "Conditional Spiral." Jeanne uses encaustic techniques in her work; from painting with encaustic, encaustic monotypes, to the coating of book objects and sculptures with wax. She writes: "I love the way beeswax creates both physical and visual depth and translucency to the work – adding to the mystery and magic I’m trying to convey."

"Stone" is a sculptural book object coated in red wax with a stone on the cover. Open it up to find a marbled swirl and the statement that "stone found near Icefalls Lodge, Canada." Inside sits a small painting, a snippet of music, a U.S. postage stamp for one cent, and a 50 cent price label. One gets the idea that Borofsky has a sense of humor, with this last item. What costs half a dollar? The stone on the cover is surrounded by a circular object, and the circle is found again on the inside facing page, near her signature. It's a quiet piece, quirky and inspiring, inviting exploration and wonder.

Joyce Collier Fearnside, Forest / Beetle
(Forest Through the Trees side), woodcut, accordion fold book

Joyce Collier Fearnside is inspired by bark and the tracings of beetles, by moth wings and footprints. Her work features a plethora of printmaking, folded paper and bookmaking techniques. In "Forest / Beetle" Fearnside makes use of both sides of an accordion fold book sandwiched between marbled paper covers to tell a story of the forest, she writes:

Gleaning the essence of nature comes from time spent in the forest or near the brook. Observing the differences of tree bark patterns compared to bark beetle trails is one of my quests. At times a quivering leaf catches my interest, while another time, it is the blaze of light striking the same leaf. I look for the story that nature reveals to me.

Joyce Collier Fearnside, Forest / Beetle
(Bark Beetle side), woodcut, accordion fold book

The trees are black and midnight blue silhouettes against a light background, the negative shapes as strong as the positive. The border on both sides is handmade paper impregnated with bits of blue thread, like the worms that fertilize the soil. On the reverse side, labeled "Bark Beetle," are monotype patterns of bark beetle trails. A worthy quest indeed.

These artists have stayed together through a tough economic climate, surviving the downturn in art sales by banding together and coming up with creative ways to find new avenues for showing their work. Equally important, they inspire each other to work and evolve; you can see how they influence each other in the way that the stripes of collaged papers on the edges of Jeanne Borofsky’s “Conditional Spiral” echo the painted stripes on the sides of Deborah Read Belguendouz's "Moroccan Door Journal." Later you might notice that the cover of Jeanne’s accordion fold book, upstairs in the glass case, includes similar strips of paper in proximity to bark beetle trails and a large, red, loopy line. Along with a circle and a stamp.

Deborah Santoro, Curator
April 2012

All are welcome to a reception with the artists on: Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 12:00-2:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Artists' Talk and Demonstration/Workshop on folded paper books: Saturday, May 5, 12:00–2:00 pm (sign-up online).

This exhibit is supported by the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust. The artists' talk and demonstration/workshop are funded by the Groton Trust Fund's Lecture Fund.