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Mare Blocker tells the story of her honeymoon trip to Italy in Modello Italiano. Each of the lavishly hand-painted pages depicts an image from their journey and is accompanied by handwritten text so that the entire work also serves as a traveler’s journal. Blocker’s use of an actual accordion as the structure of her book sends a variety of signals to the viewer. In a musical sense, it may bring to mind Italian accordion music, with its lively tempo and association with celebrations and folk dances. It may signify harmony and romance – certainly fitting symbols for a honeymoon.

And with a new marriage in the offing, if you deconstruct the word “accordion” you get “accord,” suggesting mutual understanding, plus the Latin word “cor,” meaning heart.

Blocker’s visual pun of using a real accordion brings the accordion book structure to its literal conclusion, and the viewer can imagine the newly united couple’s enjoyment as their honeymoon in Italy unfolds.

Modello Italiano
Mare Blocker

A sense of curiosity accompanies the opening of What the Crows Left, created by artist C.T. Chew and bound by Mare Blocker. The reader finds that the “pages” are in fact made out of laminated pieces of plywood, cut through in the shape of a crow. Nestled within this space is a somewhat mysterious assortment of objects apparently found by the crow. Among these articles are a pocket watch, a pair of eyeglasses, coins, rocks, and a fancy brooch. Further examination reveals text and imagery surrounding the crow, with illustrations of feathers and beaks, and scientific explanations of flight.

What does this motley assortment of found objects signify? Is there an omen here about the passage of time? Are the eyeglasses code for perception and clarity? Possibly it is that, like the artist who appropriates found objects for his art, the crow has appropriated these items as material for her nest, or as the title suggests, these are the items that were found but rejected.

Crows have long been associated with mystery, magic and the delivery of omens. Here that poetic idea is beautifully conveyed by the unique construction and composition of the book.

What The Crows Left
C.T. Chew; bound by Mare Blocker

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