Imagine a conversation between two extraordinary women, separated by a thousand years, yet connected by acts of bravery and more than coincidental commonalities. Imagine that this dialogue transcends time, and links Queen Esther with Scheherazade, the Muslim woman who told stories for a thousand and one nights. This is the inspiration for Lynne Avadenka’s newest artist’s book, By A Thread.
By A Thread begins with Queen Esther talking to Scheherazade, and continues with Scheherazade’s response to Queen Esther. The book structure reinforces the never-ending, always mutable nature of storytelling, and the text is printed on tabbed pages that weave their way through the evocative imagery printed on the accompanying page spreads.
The overall page size is 8 x 8 inches; the tabbed pages are 8 inches wide by 2 3⁄4 inches high. The book is printed in full color, with the image pages originally created as drawings that combine gouache, powdered graphite and letterpress printing.
About the Artist:
I am guided by the original concept of the book, as repository of memory and loss, as a vehicle for transmitting transcendent information and as a singular object binding together a multiplicity of meanings and ideas.
The other constant in my work is an ongoing inquiry into Jewish subject matter. I focus on themes derived from Judaic tradition: classic texts, history, ritual and ceremony. The powerful combination of traditional Judaic content and my choices as a contemporary American artist makes for a continually compelling exploration. The challenge is to create a synthesis, inspired by tradition and informed by modernity, and to preserve the ancient spirituality of the material while connecting it to a wide audience in the present.
I combine words and images, working in a variety of media. I have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Women’s Studio Workshop. Recent awards include a residency at the Oberpfälzer Küntslerhaus, in Schwandorf, Germany, a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia, and a grant from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Waltham, Massachusetts.
My work is included in the following selected institutions: The Library of Congress; Washington, D.C.; The Jewish Museum, New York NY; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; The British Library, London, England; The Meermano Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands; The New York Public Library, New York, NY; The Daimler Chrysler Corporation, Detroit, MI; Compuware, Detroit, MI; The Getty Research Center, Los Angeles, CA; Houghton Library at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA; The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY; The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; The Newberry Library, Chicago, IL; the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Miami, FLA; and is represented in numerous private collections.
To learn more visit www.lynneavadenka.com
All text and images copyright Lynne Avadenka 2006
Photo credit: R.H. Hensleigh
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.