Clarissa Lewis & Lise Melhorn-Boe
Tunnel book of Artist's Bristol and Kizuki Kozo, both hand-coloured with Windsor-Newton watercolours, tied with satin ribbon; text handwritten with Staedtler Gel Roller and Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen; with goose down and snowflakes hand-punched from Kozo paper.
18 (di.) x 2 cm
Artist's Statement: The reference to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Frau Holle (sometimes called Mother Hulda in English) led us to create a tunnel book that opens like a well. In the fairy tale, when Frau Holle, who lives at the bottom of a well, shakes her feather bed, it snows on earth, hence the addition of the feathers and snowflakes. Does the blue at the bottom of the well represent the water or the sky?
Text in book:
Growing up as Germangoodgirls we were praised for our "Tugend und Fleiss" [our virtue and industry]. We loved the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm because good and bad, industry and sloth, were so easy to tell apart and the heroines were so justly rewarded. We did identify with the good ones but the bad ones were intriguing too, especially as we got older. However, these stories left us with two somewhat contradictory notions: if we were "tudgendhaft und fleissig", didn’t complain and waited long enough, someone would notice and reward or rescue us, OR, if we were "tugendhaft und fleissig", we could take care of ourselves and accomplish anything. But was this really a choice?
"Tugend und Fleiss" appeared in both options. We knew that if we went to school and did our homework and studied hard, we would do well and be praised and take care of our own destiny. Maybe we’d even be showered with gold like the heroine of Frau Holle.
For many years, being good seemed to us like a burden. But if being good means travelling through life with courage and an open heart, listening to what’s needed in the world and responding with no thought of personal gain, perhaps we need more fairy tale heroines.
Lise Melhorn-Boe has been making books for close to thirty years. The focus of her work is an examination of women's experience in our society. She has addressed personal and political issues, ranging from women's perceptions of their bodies to the relationship between fashion images and pornography. She often uses humour as a tool to draw the viewer into a critique of a situation. Much of her work utilizes text, often women's stories which she has collected orally or through questionnaires. More recently, she has been working with her own stories. She uses a variety of materials and techniques in her work, choosing what seems to be the most appropriate structure for the content. She almost always starts with the story, but has a lot of fun with the structure, trying to make it tell a story of its own.
Her work is included in many private and public collections including The Canada Council's Art Bank, the National Gallery, the Ontario Art Gallery, the University of Calgary, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She has exhibited widely in Canada and internationally. Her web address is www.lisemelhornboe.ca.
While this is Clarissa Lewis' first venture into making an edition of books, her art making practice has included installation work, drawing, mixed media, printmaking and painting. She has had a number of solo exhibitions, as well as having participated in group shows. She has received several grants and awards. Her work is represented in private and corporate collections.
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