The Proposition of Landscape

By Melissa Wagner-Lawler
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: redthreadletterpress, 2018. Edition of 30.

5.5 x 8" closed; Letterpress on Lenox 100 using photopolymer plates and hand-set type. Hinged accordion fold book. Bound in cloth boards. In matching slipcase. Signed, dated, and numbered by the artist.

redthreadletterpress: "In this project, Wagner-Lawler uses a work held in UWM's Special Collections entitled 'The Grammar of Ornament' by Owen Jones published in 1856 and also the American Geographical Society Library Digital Map collections. By researching map images of the land boundaries of the areas and ornamentation covered in 'The Grammar of Ornament,' new visual landscapes are created using the decorative ornaments from the text.

"The artist book takes a small sampling of ornaments from each of the twenty sections of the text and places them into a landscape created out of the reinterpreted boundaries of each country or region. In addition to using the ornamentation from 'The Grammar of Ornament,' the artist book also incorporates some of Jones’ thirty-seven design propositions set forth in his book. These propositions dictate Jones’ suggested best methods for using color and composition in relation to the ornamentation. In the artist book, twenty of these propositions are used to dictate and manipulate the composition of each page. The numbers on each page of the artist book reference the Jones’ propositions.

"In addition to the artist book, Wagner-Lawler created larger re-interpretations of three pages to further explore the notion of fictional space and landscape."