By Maro Vandorou
[Dublin, CA]: Maro Vandorou, 2015. Edition of 19 + 4 AP
9.5” x 10”; 38 pages. All creative content – book design, lexicon, poems, original photographic materials, and transfer printing of 9 images by Maro Vandorou. Folio papers, handmade Frobisher white Old Master drawing and calligraphy, with deckles on 3 sides, custom-made for the edition by Papeterie Saint-Armand. Covers are white handmade cotton rag with rough surface, by Papeterie Saint-Armand; letterpress printed title in light grey, housed custom-made gray cloth over boards clamshell box with title in darker gray. Letterpress printing, hand binding of the book and clamshell case is by Sandy Tilcock, lone goose press, Eugene, Oregon. Numbered and initialed by the artist.
Colophon: "Thereafter is a limited edition handmade book of original images and writings. The conceptual focus is on capturing, depicting, and interpreting the enigmatic behavior of a coral paeonia. In the course of 7 days the flower undergoes an almost mystical transformation with a profound healing effect."
Maro Vandorou: “It was early spring when I brought to my studio coral peonies. For seven days I watched silent and perplexed, the transfiguration of the flowers into light and spirit. The red, sensuous petals stretched and unfurled, shedding pigment and flesh to become translucent, fragile, almost-not-there. How is it possible for a flower to nearly dematerialize? Can there be conscious intent, a deep yearning? Altani, my Greek scholar friend listens attentively. To decipher the enigmatic behavior of the flower, start with the name, she suggests. Use the tools of etymology and anagrammatization. The etymology of the name Paeonia, leads me to Paieon / Paean. Homer mentions that Paean was physician to the Olympian gods; he healed the wounded Ares and Hades with herbal remedies. Homer also mentions that Paieon was a disciple of Asclepius; after his death, Paieon is transformed into the flower Paeonia. The Athenians venerate this plant. Hippocrates and Dioscorides, famous physicians, write and document the deep medicinal properties of the root, of the seeds of the plant. The plant can heal, it has medicinal properties, it is named after a healer.
"I continue with the anagrammatization rules. The first rule requires separating the first letter of the name and analyzing it carefully; the first letter denotes either through its graphic representation or its conceptual identity something important. Then the remaining letters are examined. The first letter looks like and stands for a gate, a portal; the remainder of the name means eternity.
Π Α Ι Ω Ν Ι Α = Π + Α Ι Ω Ν Ι Α = P [?O R T A L?] + E T E R N I T
Y Π Α Ι Ω Ν Ι Α = flower with the healing power of beauty access to eternity through the portal of the soul
Paeonia is a medicinal, healing plant that provides access to eternity through the gate, the portal of the soul.
"The connection between the visual and linguistic / conceptual threads underlies the design of this book. I spend the next two years photographing the elusive beauty of coral peonies, abstracting form and color during the process of transformation. For printing, I use a transfer process, similar to monotype printing; it involves printing the image on a specially coated transparency film using archival pigment inks, and then transferring the image on the dampened handmade paper. Letterpress type is set in small size and in grey ink, providing a quiet meditative context for the images.”
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