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The Anthropology of Turquoise
The Anthropology of Turquoise
Partially deconstructed hardbound book covered in wax and dirt

In 2022, I was invited to participate in RE-Covery II, an exhibition at Art Around Books in Bellows Falls, Vermont. The prompt for the exhibition was to obtain a first edition of a book that had relevance to my artistic practice, remove the cover (destroying the book’s commercial value), and respond to the contents by creating artwork directly on the book.

Ellen Meloy’s The Anthropology of Turquoise is partially a memoir and partially a curious portrayal of the land, people, flora, and fauna associated with the desert. The intertwining stories, often bound together by turquoise, present a deep love and obsession for a place that Meloy connects to through color, touch, and light.

I chose to turn the physical book into something that resembles the land itself. Layers of paper and wax bury and conceal Meloy’s words, and erosion reveals the trace of her thoughts on a landscape that is more than barren desolation.

Cut out text reads:

It seems impossible that the bleached desert air,
the tawny rock and sand, could have held in its skin a stone the
color of a parrot’s wing.

Perhaps to know so familiar a place
it must become strange again.

the taste of a spring hidden in
acres and acres of flat-out, bone dry rock and sand.
a bajada taking on the mauve shadow of dusk

Set against the
palette of desolation, a piece of turquoise is like a hole
open to the sky.