Illuminated Manuscripts in the Age of Social Media and Texting

I was holed up in Burgundy as Covid began to rage. In a corner of the vaulted
furnace room of my house, I began working with gouache, tiny brushes, gold
leaf, and calligraphy pens, standing in my own scriptorium in a little village in
the Morvan forest.

This is my first foray into the world of illuminated manuscripts. My work for
many years has incorporated text and art-historical imagery. But I didn’t
realize until I was well into my new work that the decision to mash up texting,
social media, and an ancient art form was eerily in tune with the times as well
as my own history.

We live in a fast-paced age, yet everything ground to a halt as a result of
Covid. Contact with others became difficult, even dangerous. Illuminated
manuscripts seemed to be an invitation to slow down when the world is going
a mile a minute. I surrendered to the labor-intensive techniques seen in
precious pages hidden away in rare book rooms.

When I stumbled into this rather neglected art form, my manuscripts reflected
my intense desire to communicate something of our radically changed lives.
Now in 2024 as I write this, I see how they allow me to give expression to melancholy subjects,
political frustrations, and the lunacy of everyday life.

All sheets are 22-1/2” x 22-1/2” gouache, ink, 22 karat gold and/or silver leaf
on Arches 300g paper.