Stockholm, WI and St. Paul, MN: Midnight Paper Sales, 2021. Hardcover. Number 75 of 88 copies signed and numbered by the book artist, Gaylord Schanilec, a noted wood engraver, printer designer, poet, and illustrator. In this powerful and complex work, he contemplates the state of the country from the outset of the Covid pandemic in 2020 until the inauguration of Joe Biden in January of 2021. The crow - a corvid - becomes a visual symbol of the impact of the covid epidemic and other events on the country. Schanilec writes of his book: "During the first week of March 2020, as the novel covid virus blossomed in Manhattan, people from all over the world were gathered at the Lexington Avenue Armory, and across the street in the basement of the Saint Vincent Ferrer Church, to buy and sell books. Though the virus was on everyone’s mind, few refused to shake hands, and there were no masks. A week later, when I returned to the Midwest, the storm had struck. The list of the dead was growing dramatically—everyone was masked—and everyone stood at a social distance…almost everyone. I returned to rural Wisconsin where I found a matted crow feather in the wake of receding snow on the floor of Glen’s Woods, and Glen had been dead for years. I made an engraving of the feather, set a few lines of type and printed, but the result did not feel right—it felt rushed and unresolved. I was feeling jumpy, like a needle across a scratch. I decided to embrace that feeling. Tossed by the relentless jolts of the news cycle, what began as a simple rumination on death evolved into a volume of illustrated concept journalism."
This compelling work comprises seven four-page, french-folded sections printed on gampi papers, with text handset in various typefaces. With three multi-color wood engravings, and various other elements engraved, or cut in wood. The text and illustrations together offer a searing portrait of the effects of the pandemic and of the Trump era on so many of us. The seven loose sections are contained in a black chitsu case made by Matthew Lawler Zimmerman at Studio Alcyon. In fine condition. Measures 9 x 12 inches. PRI/071122. Fine. More