Alphabet Drypoints, 1994-1996
The rotund bearded figure of these images is science fiction writer Samuel Delany, author of Dahlgren, The Einstein Intersection, Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, and described in the New York Times as "one of America's foremost living science-fiction writers." While visiting Ann Arbor in 1993, Delany admired my paintings of the male nude and offered to model for me, a remarkable experience that unexpectedly led to this body of work.
A year later, as I worked on drawings loosely based on my photographic session with Delany and three other models, I realized that the images held a special fascination as a set arranged in strict alphabetical sequence. The familiar order was a map. I could invent ways to lead the viewer through this landscape and was free to improvise on the geometry suggested by individual letters. I began to think of the ensemble as a dance, a poem, or a piece of music, with a dramatic entrance (A) and a final dissolution (Z) between which various visual and metaphorical ideas would emerge and weave among the images. Over the next several years, 1994 to 1996, a complete set of drawings led to this suite of dry point prints which read like the pages of a book, letter leading to letter.
Printed in collaboration with Myeong Paik and Ben Upton.