In quarantine I have kept my collection of printed materials–poetry and artist books closeby. A few years ago I purchased Matt Christy’s LIMESTONE (Extended Play Press (collaboration with R.D. King), 2017), published concurrently with his solo show. The small book is eighty pages of repeating skittery lines and confident color. Almonds of eyes peer out from under loaves and rocks and holes. Lumps, butts, feet, lamps, lenses and horns march around polka-dotted, journaled, patterned compositions. The work is playful and ambitious. It is his practice in book form.
LIMESTONE in quarantine takes up emotive space. Like its namesake, which often consists of the skeletal fragments of animals and crystal forms of calcite–the book a dense mix. The imagery, enigmatic and uneasy, stays with me like the stink of a wet dog. At the risk of projecting too much on this little project, it seems to convey the collective anxiety and the personal exhaustion of being human (and an artist and parent) in 2020. The mirrored page in the middle is a reminder, here I am. Here we are.The absorption and introspection of being home makes me glad I have books. Together, we will have to connect and crawl out of this den, with hope and adventure. (“My job in a way is to remind Americans about whose self-image they want of themselves. Do we want an image of fear and compliance, or of adventure and democracy?” William Pope.L, 2002, The Black Factory (also in my collection))
Christy’s facture evokes that of Philip Guston, shaky in form but confident in temperament. His iconography, too, is similar–feet and triangular forms. Right smack in the middle is a mirrored page, making the dear reader complicit, a part.
-Jodi Hays, 2022
Jodi Hays has recently published a limited edition artist book of her own, The Find, concurrent with a solo show opening at Night Gallery in Los Angeles, June 25th, 2022.