8" x 10" x .5"
My interest in the homesteading experience, the agricultural lifestyle, and the indigenous prairie led me to Willa Cather’s My Antonia. In the text, Cather frequently mentions the tall native prairie grass, sometimes through a veil of blinding sun or whirling snow. In Bluestem, I wanted to bring to life this quote from Cather’s text:
Everywhere, as far as the eye could reach, there was nothing but rough, shaggy, red grass, most of it as tall as I… And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running.
Chicago artist Karen Hanmer’s sculptural books and installations fragment and layer text and image to mirror the experience of personal and cultural memory. Her books are meant to be handled; the intimate scale, choice of materials, and the gestures of exploration required to travel through each piece evoke the experience of looking through a photo album, diary, or the belongings of a loved one. However, her work often take playful forms, and many include tongue-in-cheek text. She exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and Yale University to Graceland. Hanmer holds a degree in Economics from Northwestern University. She serves on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, a peer-reviewed online book arts journal, and is national Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book Workers. A complete catalog of her work is available online at www.karenhanmer.com.
All images and text copyright the artist. All rights reserved.