Artist Brian Dupont has been a longtime Hyperallergic pal. He describes his art as “a study of how the visual aspects of information can be conveyed — or distorted — within the framework of abstract painting.” That visually abstract lexicon is often layered with words and letters to convey an added sense of familiarity but not necessarily direct meaning.
Dupont’s contribution to the Mail Art Bulletin is a five-part postcard project that began to arrive at the end of March (postmarked March 29, to be exact) until the beginning of this month (postmark May 9), when we received an instruction “book” of sorts.
Each postcard is created on thick watercolor paper, and they arrived with stenciled letters. The postcards were created in Dupont’s characteristic scraped and layered style. Tape, ballpoint pen and wax paper were added to the textured paper and they make the work feel like a relic from the early 20th C., as if they were cut out of some avant-garde advertising storyboard. My mother worked as a graphic design for two decades and these layers of tape, stencils, translucent paper and random arrows and words evoke the member of the camera-ready work she would carefully prepare for pre-production. They are objects designed to communicate, but here they often obfuscate.
As each postcard arrived, I initially assumed they would offer insight into the larger work but they only generated more questions, like objects from an archeological dig. According to his “In Process” tumblelog, these aren’t the first mail art works the artist has created and in a wider context they appear most related to his Text Paintings, which include similar stenciled letters on washes and bands of color. The scrapping and handwritten cursive script give the work the patina of age.
From what I’ve been able to discern from the work, “Postcard Construction #15” (2011), it appears to be a record and road map of its own creation. As much a conceptual work as a physical one, and I like the thought that the objects are fragments of a larger meaning that got lost in the mail.
If you would like to be considered for inclusion in our Mail Art Bulletin or our upcoming mail art exhibition, please send your mail art by Wednesday, June 8 to:
181 N 11th Street, Suite 302
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Thanks for both including me and being patient with the drawn out nature of this project. It is indeed meant to evoke earlier communication, especially the delay and uncertainty of corresponding by post (which is sometimes maddening contemporary).
Looking at the images you’ve provided, it is possible to take this project a step further. The last piece sent, the “workbook” will unfold further if the masking tape strips used to seal it for shipment are completely removed. The instructions on the previous cards and the order of operations in the workbook may be followed to cannibalize the previous cards in the series to create a collage triptych which is the intended final work.
Or not; as with anything sent out into the world, such instructions may be discarded or ignored. The final completion of the work is literally in the hands of the receiver.
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