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In Professor Hinds’ investigation of the Persephone myth, as well as in the artists’ interpretations, I found those same themes: Demeter blames Zeus and Hades for contriving to abduct her daughter Persephone, and the cost of her despair was the death of all the earth’s crops. This motif of punishment extended into Professor Clauss’ book on Medea, who seeks retribution for her husband’s infidelity by murdering their children. Medea herself is ill-treated because, as a foreigner, she lacks the status of a citizen-wife. As in Professor Kamen’s book, the artists’ books in this section take up the many ways that the status of marginalized and minority communities often leads to the denial of social and legal opportunities.

The status of Greeks depicted in vase painting is examined by Professor Topper who questions the assumptions previously made about Greek society based solely on visual cues. The artists linked to her book use visual cues to persuade the viewer to question his or her initial assumptions about the work.

There are three artists’ works that bring these connections full circle for me. In the first chapter are two artists’ books – Relinquo and Roman Fragments that are comprised of photographs of ancient Rome. They depict temples, ruins, monuments and other landmarks that are among the most recognizable – and therefore, remembered – structures in Western culture. In the final chapter, the photographs that illustrate the book Bless This House tell the story of the destruction of a trailer park in Oregon, which no one but those who lived there will remember.

I began this project with the hypothesis that there is a connection not only between the content of the academic and artists’ books but also that there exists a parallel in the formative process of  writer and artist.




Of course there is often a vast difference between the specific starting off place for the writer who begins exclusively with a written source and the artist who relies mainly on visual material alone. But they do share one thing: avid curiosity. It was curiosity that made them press for fresh themes and new interpretations. It was curiosity that made them pass up the easy and obvious answers in order to unravel the complexities of a meaningful conclusion. Whether writer or artist, the creative individuals behind this exhibition worked through
intensive periods of inquiry, followed various lines of research and, in some cases, utilized experimentation. The results are these marvelous books – written or constructed. They are at the core of this project.
When Artemis is in her role as “Mistress of the Animals,” she is depicted with wings. In the spirit of this project, I ask that you imagine yourself standing at
the crossroads under the protective wings of Artemis and consider each work individually, discover the places of overlap and intersection, look in all
directions and experience the fullness of the view.  

Lauren Dudley
October, 2013
Seattle, Washington

Mari Eckstein Gower

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