Heebner, Mary. Unearthed. Santa Barbara: Simplemente Maria Press. 2011.
Like much of Mary Heebner’s work, this book was inspired by the artist’s travels to distant locations. On two trips to the mountains of Patagonia in Chile, Heebner explored sites of geological and archaeological interest. In Last Hope Sound, Puerto Natales, she viewed indigenous Mapuche ceremonial vessels called messen. These experiences became the basis for two series of paintings that Heebner later made in her studio – Below and Beneath and Unearthed.
This work draws from those paintings as well as from sketches the artist made during her travels. A box of straight-grained pine with accents of paduak and wenge wood holds two volumes beneath a tumbled Siena travertine marble lid.
The large format book Unearthed contains digital prints of the painting series of the same name. The eight colorful prints of vessels are individually overpainted with watercolor. Also included are two prints of paintings from the Below and Beneath series. Between the prints are translucent sheets of handmade abaca paper plus one sheet of ochre-pigmented kozo paper. These thin sheets are printed with the lines of a poem written by the artist comparing the soul to a vessel that is shaped by both internal and external forces. The volume is bound with a black leather spine and unique painted covers initialed by the artist on the front cover.
Hidden below the larger book, and appropriately called Notes from Below, is a small format chapbook containing the artist’s thoughts and her own poetry as well as prints of ink and graphite sketches of vessels with unique ink washes. The covers of this volume feature a fingerprint design printed on terra cotta-colored paper from Cave Paper in Minneapolis. The pages of the book are Khadi cotton rag paper handmade in Tamil Nadu.
The text for both volumes in this work was letterpress-printed in Centaur and Futura by John Balkwill of The Lumino Press who also created the bindings. From an edition of 20 unique copies, this book is number 12. Both volumes are numbered and signed by the artist. Also included is a prospectus for the book.
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