|David Avery: "We live in an age where words, images, and objects seem to have been looted of meaning. In response to this state of affairs, I have come to think of the etchings I make as being miniature Rorschachs, the reverberations of oneiric gunshots acting upon the experiences and senses of the unsuspecting viewer, as well as the artist. The medium of black and white etching allows for a wealth of detail and tonal possibilities, acting to heighten the viewer’s perceptual receptivity and awakening unforeseen and unlikely associations. In this process, whatever initial intentions I may have had are overshadowed by the resulting discoveries and interpretations on the part of the affected viewer, dissolving further the boundaries of meaning."
With excerpt from the works of Francois Rabelais and Alfred Jarry
By David Avery
San Francisco, California: Panmuphle Press, 2013. Edition of 20.
8.5" x 6.5"; 10 unnumbered pages on left side, single page folded vertically on right side. Gray fabric covered board with small etching trimmed and mounted on the front cover. Interior fabric-covered flaps with black foil-embossed titles open out to expose handsewn pages of letterpress text on the left side, while a single page 27.75 x 5" etching unfolds vertically on the right side. Cover etching printed on Van Gelder Simili Japon paper. The folded etching was printed on Magnini Revere Silk Ivory paper. The letterpress text using Scripps Oldstyle font was printed on Van Gelder Simili Japon paper. Signed and numbered by the artist on the colophon.
Obeliscolychny was designed and created by David Avery. The etchings were made and printed by him in his studio in San Francisco. The excerpts from Francois Rabelais and Alfred Jarry were typeset and printed by Jonathan Clarke at Artichoke Press in Mountain View, CA. Klaus-Ullrich S. Rotzscher bound books at Pettingell Book Bindery in Berkeley, CA. An additional unfolded edition of 21 impressions of the etching was printed on Hahnemühle Warm White Copperplate paper by the artist.
David Avery: "OBELISCOLYCHNY —an appellation that intoxicates the viewer with the potentials of unknown narratives, filled with mysterious possibilities leading to…what exactly? Obelisk-shaped lighthouses? Spit-lanterns wearing high-crown’d hats? A windmill inhabited by a cuckoo clock? Imagine these things and more, with the publication of the artist’s book, Obeliscolychny, featuring two etchings by David Avery and excerpts from Rabelais and Jarry connected with the abovementioned term."
David Avery, blog: "'Obeliscolychny?' you may be tempted to ask.
"And with good reason. Arguably one of the most obscure and rarely used terms to be found in literature (or anywhere else), but with, perhaps, undue influence relative to its obscurity, obeliscolychny was invented/appropriated by Francois Rabelais (@1483-1553) and used in books IV and V of his sprawling tales of Gargantua and Pantagruel. Possibly derived from Aristotle’s Politics, which used it to describe a kind of spit used by soldiers to hang lamps on as a metaphor for … well, something or other, it acquired the meaning somewhere along the way of a lighthouse in the form of an obelisk.
"Centuries later, Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), poet, playwright, critic, puppeteer, and subverter of objective reality, discovered the word while reading Rabelais and became enamored with it, using it (pataphysically, of course) in several of his novels. That these works tend to be as convoluted and recondite as the origins of obeliscolychny itself is part of what provides grist for the mill of this project. "
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