Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rosaire Appel

Third in our series of interview posts.

How did I climb into abstract comics? Decades of working with 35mm negatives in the darkroom lead me to thoughts of animation. At the same time, I was also digitally printing graphic books and developing digital drawing skills. These were abstract works, exploring the language of suggestive forms. Amazed by the infinite, instantaneous possibilities in a digital drawing, I began printing companion variations, playing with similarities and differences. As the dialogues between these duos complexified I added more segments. I called them multi-frames. It was a way to expand the space within a single work. I also liked that the multi-frame/ sequential-image gambit often provides a built-in context, making a work self-sufficient in any environment.
In 2006 I was deeply inspired by an exhibit called "Ehon – The Artist and the Book in Japan", at the New York Public Library. This huge show of picture books from 764 to the present pointed me toward the comics format – the limited color, simplified line, sequential development of some kind of narrative - accordion books as comic strips. Around the same time, another exhibit sparked my interest: "Masters of American Comics" at the Jewish Museum/ New York. There was tremendous energy in those framed black and white pages – I wanted to turn them upside down to see them abstractly without reading either the figures or the words. I like the look of comics. I like how the gap between frames can be slight as a sigh or deep as a black hole. But once words appear, I'm pulled away from looking. This push/pull energy between words and images, this conflict between looking and reading, interests me. Issues of language, both visual and verbal, are and have been the foundation of my practice. I'm gradually working toward adding an abstract verbal narrative to abstract comic imagery, but so far I've erased every attempt.

some images--clickable:

arrived and left -accordion book


drawing untitled

Editor's note: Rosaire has also been making some pretty great abstract comics from photographs, as can be seen on her "seens-rappel" blog:

Crosswalk Cartoon:

Their Paints, My Camera(6):

Paint Trails on Asphalt:

1 comment:

  1. This is all great work!

    I like seeing how you developed your technique from photography and digital drawing to give your work a style not normally seen in comics. I suppose some have tried similar things but you pull it off in a much more effective way than I've seen before. I also get a very New York vibe from your work which might be another reason I like it so much.

    Are you selling any copies of "Arrived...and Left"?


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