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60 Days in Taiwan     Artist Book    

Chiayi Series

This body of work is the result of spending the autumn of 2007 in Taiwan as a guest artist. While there, I attended classes and studios in traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy. These skills are not acquired in a short time but are often studied in Asia for a lifetime. Some of my naïve and rather clumsy lessons are shown as sequential scrolls of learning. Inspired by these lessons, I have used traditional Chinese materials--brush, ink and rice paper--in new ways to create my own abstract calligraphic paintings and books.

I believe that we develop symbols, signs, and images to find our way and to communicate diverse truths. I have long used these symbols of human organization in my artwork. Learning the history and practice of calligraphy or "beautiful writing" has enriched this exploration for me. I am in awe of this ancient language developed from graphically beautiful symbols.

With my past artistic focus on visual story telling, it has been a natural progression to increasingly view my work as a metaphor for books and collected knowledge. In this work, I am continuing the "books of knowledge" metaphor by disassembling actual books and creating sequential wall pieces that are meant to be viewed as "book paintings." I have also created books as memories of my time in Taiwan and other small books entirely of calligraphic marks. The large ink paintings are "pages" from an imaginary sketchbook of personal and expressive ink studies. Many of these works are meant to be read only by the beauty of the line.

Sally Graves Machlis



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