A Retrospective Look at Works Printed by Lynne Avadenka

A chronological look at the fine printing and book design work of Lynne Avadenka, 1987-2012.

1987-1995

Lynne Avadenka.  Understanding.  No. 66 of 75 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1987–1988.

Simple accordion book, distinctive because it is sewn into its cover and includes pop-up Hebrew letters that spell BEE-NAH (understanding) within the text. Although the Biblical text is Isaiah’s admonishment to the Hebrews that they must be taught like children (e.g., line by line, precept by precept), the artist interprets it to suggest that this is the very way understanding is gained.

 

 

Understanding. No. 66 of 75 copies. <br />

Lynne Avadenka.  An Only Kid. [Had gadya.]  No. 12 of 75 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1990.

For this version of a favorite children’s song from the Haggadah featuring a little goat, the artist used cover paper specially made from rag and goat hair. Supported by the Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, New York), the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

 

An Only Kid. [Had gadya.]  No. 12 of 75 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka.  The Uncommon Perspective of M.E.J. Colter.  No. 12 of 100 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1992.

The text by Avadenka tells the story of M.E.J. Colter, the woman who designed many of the buildings surrounding the Grand Canyon. The book’s structure and materials echo Colter's Native American-inspired designs and the adobe buildings of the American Southwest. The specially made shaped paper consists of cotton rag, earth from New Mexico, and cooked straw.

 

 

The Uncommon Perspective of M.E.J. Colter. No. 12 of 100 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka.  Without Knowledge There Is No Understanding.  No. 23 of 30 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1995.

An English translation from the Mishnah of Pirkei Avot with the Hebrew words for “understanding” and “wisdom” interpreted in brush strokes.

 

 

Without Knowledge There Is No Understanding.  No. 23 of 30 copies.<br />

1996-1999

Lynne Avadenka.  Compassion.  No. 9 of 50 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1996.

After studying the word “compassion” and its components in English and Hebrew, the artist created a shadow-box construction to represent three of the words found in it: Womb, Water, and Sea.

 

 

Compassion.  No. 9 of 50 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka.  Mizrach.  No. 11 of 25 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1996.

A mizrach is an ornament traditionally placed on the eastern wall of a Jewish home to denote the direction of Jerusalem. This mizrach includes a portion of a poem by medieval poet Yehuda Halevi: "My heart is in the East, and I am at the edge of the West."

 

 

Mizrach. No. 11 of 25 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka.  Boundaries of the Universe: Twenty-Two Letters.  No. 3 of 10 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1998.  Gift of the Morris and Beverly Baker Foundation.

In the essay that precedes the prints, the artist points out that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet began as picture symbols and have rich associations with Kabbalistic thought. Each page (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet) includes an intaglio print, a poem by Avadenka, and textual connections to antiquity.

 

 

Boundaries of the Universe: Twenty-Two Letters.  No. 3 of 10 copies.

Lynne Avadenka.  Breathing Mud: The Legend of the Golem.  No. 17 of 35 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 1999.

Breathing Mud was inspired by a trip to Prague, the site of the legend.  The Golem was a man formed from mud who would, by magic, come to the rescue of Jews in trouble. The book's mud-like covers echo the text, while the center image shows the ten mystical realms of Kabbalistic thought that are said to animate the Golem.

 

 

Breathing Mud: The Legend of the Golem. No. 17 of 35 copies. <br />

Breathing Mud: The Legend of the Golem. [continued]

The spell for creating a Golem runs along the top of the pages and the spell that negates the its power is printed in reverse below.

 

 

Breathing Mud: The Legend of the Golem.  [image 2]

2000-2005

Lynne Avadenka.  Letters Make You Wise. No. 4 of 14 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, [2000].

 

The simple message of this broadside echoes the artist's own wisdom.

 

 

 

Letters Make You Wise.  No. 4 of 14 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka, in collaboration with Mohamed Zakariya.  Root Words: An Alphabetic Exploration.  No. 7 of 30 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2001.

This structurally complex book interprets intertwined words in the Hebrew and Arabic languages on several levels. Seven related words are calligraphed by the two artists as the centerpiece of the work, mounted against a background of explanatory text on one side, and interpretative works of free-form calligraphy on the other, both by Avadenka. Avadenka suggests that similarities in the Arabic and Hebrew languages—both are based on a three-letter root word system—might make language the root of the problem between the two cultures as well as a possible solution.

 

 

Root Words: An Alphabetic Exploration.  No. 7 of 30 copies.<br />

Lynn Crawford.  Detail: For Lynne Avadenka.  No. 25 of 35 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2003.

Detroit-based author and art critic Lynn Crawford wrote this short, six-paragraph piece after viewing an exhibition of Avadenka's work. Crawford selected six evocative words: line, volume, spine, jewel, terrain, and light, which became links in this richly imaginative work that is informed by the literary form sestina.

 

 

Detail: For Lynne Avadenka. No. 25 of 35 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka.  Of the Making of Many Books There is No End.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2005.

Text from Ecclesiastes 12:12.  A broadside printed in celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Center for Book Arts, New York.

Of the Making of Many Books There is No End.

2006-2009

Lynne Avadenka.  By a Thread.  No. 15 of 300 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2006.

This text is a reimagining of two stories, Queen Esther from the Bible and Scheherazade from “A Thousand and One Nights.” Both are about women who saved their lives by spinning out stories for their royal husbands. In the accordion-fold book the artist’s imagery evokes Persian architecture and design, while the text is woven through the imagery. Avadenka was invited to create a site-specific installation of art on this same theme at Brandeis University in 2008. This edition was created with the support of the Hadassah Brandeis Institute and the Foundation for Jewish Culture.

 

 

By a Thread. No. 15 of 300 copies.<br />

Dan Pagis.  Dan Pagis (1930–1986).  No. 3 of 15 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2007.

Six poems, translated by Stephen Mitchell.  After surviving the Holocaust Dan Pagis became a professor of Hebrew Literature in Israel, writing poetry that helped to shape the modern Hebrew language. Each of the six poems here is given its own triptych with a lithograph by Avadenka in the center flanked by the text in English and Hebrew. The hand-colored lithographs are based on collages created from linear elements (denoting railroad lines) extracted from a 1910 Baedeker guide to southern Germany.

 

 

Dan Pagis (1930–1986). No. 3 of 15 copies.

Lynne Avadenka.  Lamentations (Ekhah).  No. 2 of 8 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2009.

The complete text of the book of Lamentations is presented on facing pages in Hebrew and English. The powerful images are printed from carved wood shapes of houses lost, representing homes and families that were torn apart. The wide pages are meant to suggest an unrolled scroll, the form of the original Hebrew book.

 

 

Lamentations (Ekhah).  No. 2 of 8 copies.

Lynne Avadenka.  Lamentations (Ekhah). No. 2 of 8 copies. [continued]

English text.

Lamentations (Ekhah).  [image 2]

Lynne Avadenka.   [Praise the Press].  No. 2 of 20 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2009.

A hymn of praise to those involved in printing books.  It is excerpted from David Gans’s 1592 book, Tzemach David, the first history of the world from a Jewish perspective. Printed at the Book Arts Workshop of Dartmouth College.

[Praise the Press].  No. 2 of 20 copies.<br />
Alternate title:  [Blessed be the One who Favors Man with Knowledge]

2010-2012

Lynne Avadenka.  Plum Colored Regret.  No. 7 of 25 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2010.

Avadenka responds in words and paintings to the poem of an anonymous Jewish woman who wrote in Muslim and Christian Spain sometime between 950 and 1492. The book opens with the original Hebrew text then spreads its English translation in large type across the pages with Avadenka’s response to the poem in smaller type, accompanied by lithographically reproduced brush paintings.

 

 

Plum Colored Regret<br />

Bonnie Jo Campbell (1962– ).  The Solutions to Brian's Problem.  No. 6 of 20 copies, signed by both author and artist.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2011.

This short story comes from Michigan author Campbell’s collection titled American Salvage (Wayne State University Press, 2009), a National Book Award Finalist. Avadenka has taken this brief, seven-paragraph story of possible solutions to an impossible situation and turned it into a puzzle.

The Solutions to Brian's Problem.  No. 6 of 20 copies.

Bonnie Jo Campbell (1962– ).  The Solutions to Brian's Problem.  [continued]

The puzzle pieces of text and image are mounted on Michigan maple veneer and must be put together correctly to read the story.

 

 

The Solutions to Brian's Problem.  [image #2]

Lynne Avadenka.  One by One.  No. 7 of 20 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2011.

This is part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition project, a memorial to a street of booksellers bombed in 2007 in Iraq.

One by One.  [image #2]

Lynne Avadenka.  One by One.  [continued]

The artist was inspired by Wilfred Owen’s poem written in 1916 during World War I, “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young.”

 

 

One by One. No. 7 of 20 copies.<br />

Lynne Avadenka.  Jerusalem Calendar.  No. 3 of 18 copies.

Huntington Woods, Michigan: Land Marks Press, 2012.

A suite of prints based on original collages made while Avadenka was a Fellow of the American Academy in Jerusalem. The collages are composed of Jewish and secular calendars, maps of Jerusalem, and newspapers, each one including elements from a single calendar page, as well as parts of Hebrew and Arabic letters cut out, cut apart, and then used to imagine a lively and inventive alphabet.

 

 

Jerusalem Calendar.  No. 3 of 18 copies.<br />

Interview with Artist Lynne Avadenka

About this Exhibit