28 September 2015

Horizon



HORIZON
Watercolor woodblock print with stencils
26 x 38 inches (97 x 67 cm) on Gekko washi
edition: 2
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The horizon is a circle that divideth part of the world seen from the part that cannot be seen.
– The New Book of Knowledge (1767)

All of the text for these prints thus far has come from Erra Pater: The New Book of Knowledge, a strange (at least to modern eyes) book that began as a perpetual almanac in England in 1535 but later became a compendium of folk wisdom.
The New Book of Knowledge was one of America's first bestsellers, undergoing at least 13 American printings between 1767 and 1810. The book includes an explanation of the relationship of zodiac signs to the parts of the body; a discussion of the four humors of the human body with folk medicine recipes; a section on fortune telling; and lore about weather, farming, and the care of animals. What's fascinating to me is that we think of the "Founding Fathers" as being enlightened and modern, but if The New Book of Knowledge is any indicator, they were not.

In the last few steps of this print, I added a dark blue bokashi at the bottom, printed the pensive fisherman in black, and added the text with a stencil.



As Donald Rumsfeld once said about our mission in Iraq, "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." We made fun of him for saying that, but it's pretty true. I like the video a lot:

9 comments:

Olga Norris said...

I love this: the work, the idea, everything. Wondrous.

Leslie Moore said...

Looks like your lucky fisherman is not so lucky. He's about to be swallowed by your sea monster! Poor fellow!

Richard Stockham said...

The fourth leg of Rumsfeld's little quadrille, the unknown knowns (a.k.a. things forgotten) turned out to be quite the spoiler. This piece, digging as it does into the dark depths of the past, reminded me of the Rilke quote.
"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."

Annie B said...

Thank you so much for that Rilke quote, Richard. It's beautiful, and it's more or less what I was thinking/feeling when I added the little glowing "stars" in the water — a hopefulness that the monster can somehow bring out our best.

Andrew Stone said...

The Little fish is saying, "you better throw me back or you'll be sorry!" and Wise Fisherman, smiles and says, "Ha, I know that trick". And now we all know how the story ends.
I think our horizon line is mobile and shifting and each generation thinks it sees and knows more when in fact the unknown oscillates only slightly between a little more, or a little less, infinite.
I like the darker blue at the bottom.

Annie B said...

"I think our horizon line is mobile and shifting and each generation thinks it sees and knows more when in fact the unknown oscillates only slightly between a little more, or a little less, infinite." Thanks for that, Andrew. Beautifully said.

Annie B said...

Thank you, Olga. Leslie, yes. I guess we can never be sure if our luck is really lucky.

Unknown said...

I love this too, yes. Like a good kid's book, simple but big enough to get lost in easily. Hope you're making more than one of these!

-cur, who doesn't know why my log in here always shows me as unknown.

Annie B said...

I only made two. Not sure exactly why I'm doing that, except that I made editions of eight last time I made large prints and I still have an awful lot of them.