The Drawers - Carin Covin   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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For Font's Sake

Historically, the first scripts grew out of patterns, simplified shapes that roughly depicted things from the physical world. They were scratched into mud or sand with twigs, gouged onto wood and wall or chiseled from stone. They contained messages, communicating between humans. Carin Covin's work has previously dealt with patterns, repetition of shapes that often formed an all-over field. This new body of work implies messages for although the marks read as shapes - the origin of the shape seems to be letters. On light paper, sewn with white filmy thread or cut away like lace; they, nonetheless, have a weighty significance and the actual profiles of the 'letters' resemble inscriptions from tombs or temples, from the Western or the Eastern worlds, from ancient to present languages, and seem to be derived from familiar yet foreign scripts. The placement of the origin of this muffled talk is impossible without a dictionary to guide translation. There is, however, a sacred tome intonation, a secret spell aura, as if these are magic words that could be a key to understanding and have been strategically placed before our neophyte vision to decipher.

The removal of the letter-like shapes, cut from the paper with precision, pasted on new strips, or sewn on character by character, furthers the impression of a ritualistic handling of the material. Clearly, it was a painstaking task, a labor of love, to make these pieces, like the names of lovers carved as a public announcement of private passion.

Covin's letters are like birds flying in straight lines. They can create shadows, the light can shine through them, they have dimension and they could come loose and drop to earth if they weren't stitched into place. These pieces have a wondrous effect. The simple white or graphite gray has ceremonious associations; weddings, Far Eastern death rituals, Catholic convocations, christenings, and then there are the natural associations; snow flakes, crystals, icing, spider webs, moths, doves. The dove is very present for there seems to be a peaceful missive delivered within these beautiful pages.

Poetry and song as it veers to the purity of abstraction has similarities with Carin Covin's paper pieces when they take the tangential turn from description to impressionism. These pieces are flights of flocking, feathery, whispers. They bring words to mind and the love of beauty to heart.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers