Newspapers from around the world -- black and white and color, pasted flat, torn or rolled into compact shafts – are the principal elements of the fascinating paper constructions by Joan Giordano in an exhibition entitled Spin Out that opens June 22 at the June Kelly Gallery. The work will remain on view through July 31.
As newspapers everywhere struggle to adapt and survive in a time of profound and revolutionary technological change, it is important to recall their long history and the strong emotional bonds they have had with their readers and the vital role they have played in everyone’s daily life. Giordano draws on a deep reservoir of memory and respect in her homage to the printed word.
Giordano’s large constructions, which hang on the wall, incorporate other found paper and corrugated cardboard that she tears and burns to create jagged, charred edges, as well as graphite, paint and encaustic, all interwoven with the newspapers to create an unusual irregular abstract tapestry.
In an essay in the exhibition invitation, art writer and critic Cynthia Nadelman writes that “In addition to newspapers, the works suggest tablets, scrolls, edicts nailed to doors, and posters torn away from walls – just a few of the ways written information has been imparted or altered throughout history.”
She notes that Giordano studied papermaking in Japan and was very impressed by what she termed the “modular” Japanese design approach and seems to have adopted it in her constructions.
“There is something kimono-like in their overall look” Nadelman writes, “as if strips of different-patterned fabrics have been sewn together into a harmonic whole. There is also a black-and-white staccato of smaller pieced-together elements.”
Giordano also offers “hints of the letterpress tray,” Nadelman says, “with letters and symbols divided by partitions. Different alphabets, including Asian characters, as well as recognizable words and phrases, and color images, come to the fore and then seem to recede, with the tubular forms of the rolled-up newspapers recurring at irregular intervals.”
More somberly, Nadelman cites Giordano’s interest in archeology and “what she calls ‘disappearing artifacts,’ whether from ancient civilizations or our very own time. “One can imagine her constructions being rediscovered someday, the way we sometimes come across old newspaper used as wrapping at the time something was packed away.” The newspapers may have experienced “the inevitable yellowing and disintegration of that medium, reflecting the transience and perishability of current ideas and information,” a transformation that may befall Giordano’s constructions in decades to come.
Nadelman concludes: “Evoking a history ranging from batons with written messages passed on by Greek runners to rolled-up newspapers thrown onto lawns and doorsteps, as well as all the form and content that unfold within, Giordano’s beautifully crafted constructions are odes to a vanishing tradition.”
Giordano lives and works in New York City and Roscoe, NY. She holds a BA from Wagner College, Staten Island, and an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.
Giordano works have been shown in many one-person and group exhibitions in the United States and countries throughout the world. She is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Savannah College of Art and Design, GA; Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden, North Salem, NY; Longview Art Museum, TX; Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, CT; New York Public Library Print Collection; Awagami Museum, Hall of Awa, Tokushima, Japan; PepsiCo, Purchase, NY; the Henry Buhl Collection, New York, and the North Carolina National Bank, Charlotte, NC.