Barbara Milman, “Unnatural Histories 17: Vanishing Act”
Artist: Barbara Milman (El Cerrito, CA)
Title: Unnatural Histories 17: Vanishing Act (2011)
Medium/technique(s): altered cigar box, transfer prints, hand stamped type, monoprints, digital
Edition size: Unique
Number of pages: 66
Dimensions, open: 11 x 3¾ x 1 in
Dimensions, closed: 4½ x 5 x 4½ (box); 4½ x 3¾ 2 (book)
I work primarily in two media: prints and handmade artist books (either in very small editions or unique). The books all have a message or story that is told both by the books as art objects and by their text and images. They combine printmaking and bookmaking techniques.
The message for the past several years has been about climate change. This book – Vanishing Act – is about the danger posed by global warming to arctic wildlife. The original text, hand printed using old letterpress type, tells the story.
We did not expect to live forever.
Hoping to leave with just each other,
Maybe the dog and a few friends,
We were surprised to find so many.
The polar bears did not scare us,
Nor did the seals and walrus.
Only when we saw the water rising
Did we panic and try to run.
Of course we couldn’t. The road was
Crowded, people were crushed
Against animals, whale carcasses,
A flock of birds blocked our way.
“Do you blame us?” They were silent.
But we heard them anyway,
“You had your chance and blew it.”
Then in the dark they vanished.