Iowa City: Emily Martin, 2022. Number 20 of 25 copies signed and numbered by the book artist. Emily Martin says of this personal and inventive book: " Madness was created during the pandemic and went through many forms before it became what you see here. It’s appearance and content are very much shaped by my time in isolation. Initially, I copied out the play Hamlet by hand starting in March 2020 because I was too anxious to sit and read. I also was making paper puppets for companionship. The project kept changing as events swirled around me. I struggled to make sense of the project in a world gone crazy. The text is a crazy quilt arrangement of lines from Hamlet and my writing on repeating themes of fear, disease, Black Lives Matter, Asian hate crimes, the insurrection, so much death and isolation. " She further comments on her colophon: "Madness went through many forms before it became what you see here. It has taken me much longer to figure than any book I have ever made before. The combination of subject matter that was centuries old with happenings in the minute complicated my thinking beyond measure."
About the artist: Emily Martin earned an MFA degree in painting, from the University of Iowa in 1979 and made her first artist’s books at that time. Martin joined the faculty of the University of Iowa Center for the Book in 1998 where she teaches artists books, paper engineering, and traditional bookbinding classes. Martin made limited edition artists books first as the Naughty Dog Press, but now uses her name only. She has produced over fifty artist’s books, often using movable and/or sculptural paper engineering techniques. Martin’s books are included in public and private collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Meermanno Museum, The Hague, Netherlands; The Victoria and Albert Museum; The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago; the Tate Britain; the Library of Congress and among many others.
Madness was printed letterpress with polymer plates from Boxcar Press on Arches Text wove paper. The background pattern of the pages is made up of my renderings of tears, drops of blood, Covid-19 particles and bullet holes. The paper puppet inclusions were printed on University of Iowa Center for the Book Chancery paper and are costumed in papers of wheat straw, sisal, daylily fibers, and abaca paste papers made by Andrea Peterson. The puppets are attached to their pages but are engineered to be able to be lifted away from them and gently move. The book was constructed as an accordion and the pages can be extended and displayed. The non-adhesive brown covers are flax and abaca papers made by Mary Hark for the outside and flax papers from the University of Iowa Center for the Book for the inside. White title label is affixed to the front cover and to the spine of its box. Housed in a black cloth covered clamshell box. A fascinating book in fine condition. Measures 8 x 11 inches. Unpaginated. ARTB/030723. Fine. More