The Rockland show was irresistible. I shouldn't gush, I know, but "From
Edible Text to Letterpress: Fine Bindings to Ice, the Artist's Book
by Angela Lorenz" at the Farnsworth is pure delight. It is an exposition
of wit, technical ingenuity and typographic connoisseurship of high
Lorenz (Manchester, Mass., and Bologna, Italy) uses paper and various
typographic devices to create objects that are part books, part craft,
She bounces back and forth between craft and fine printing and then
tosses in a dash of fine arts, all with respect and apparent ease.
Let's begin with the simplest example. As every traveler to Italy knows,
20 percent of the monuments on one's must-see list are going to be obscured.
They will be covered with boarding, scaffolding or netting of some kind
for the sake of preserving the art work.
Lorenz's "Dis Cover Italian Monuments"
turns this adversity to advantage. The work is a small, accordion-like
book of printed color photographs. It celebrates the unavailable. It
plays peek-a-boo with such monuments as San Marco in Venice, the Pantheon
and sculpture in Rome's Piazza Navona, and so forth. It's part art,
"The Hat's Up to You" resembles
a 19th-century Italian hatbox. Inside is a string of small fanciful
hats long enough to reach the ceiling. The hats are of paper and include
a bishop's miter, a crown, and a chef's hat..
A few years back I reviewed the artist's "Bologna
Sample" in a show at the former Barn Gallery in Ogunquit. The
work is included in the Farnsworth show.
Another accordion construction, it presents the ranges of hues found
on Bologna building facades through 179 tiny squares painted with watercolors.
Addresses are given and there is a brief essay. The presentation is
immaculate, and Lorenz somehow, as she does in all the work on exhibit,
avoids the precious.
"Noticing Death", unlike
much else in the show, is not a confection. It's a series of sheets
showing images of death notices as they are used in Calabria. Such notices
are posted on short order and in incongruent places, next to a circus
poster or on a dumpster. The work is touching and ironic.