Carole P. Kunstadt, Sacred Poem LXXII, 2011, linen thread, paper: pages from Parish Psalmody dated 1849, 6.5 x 4.25 x 2.325

The Sacred Poem Series takes physical, material, and intellectual inspiration from Parish Psalmody, A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for Public Worship, published in 1849.

The primary element used in this series is paper: the pages are taken from a Parish Psalmody dated 1849. These pages of psalms are manipulated and recombined, resulting in a presentation that evokes grace - poems of praise and gratitude. The disintegrating pages suggest the temporal quality of our lives and the vulnerability of memory and history.

Visually there is a consistent and measured cadence to a page of psalms which is echoed in the often repetitive weaving or restructuring of the paper: pages are cut in strips and woven creating an altered dense surface: the shredded edges form new textural references; the layering of translucent tissue over the paper softens the effect of age and context, evoking the ephemeral while adding a veil of alternative possibilities. Although fragile the paper is surprisingly resilient. The use of gold leaf elevates and heightens the rich textural qualities presenting a sumptuous visual experience. The interplay alludes to the enticing presentation of illuminated texts historically.

The intended use, as well as the nature of a psalm as spiritual repository, both imply a tradition of careful devotion and pious reverence. The physical text evocatively and powerfully serves as a gateway to an experience of the sacred and the realization of the latent power of the written word. This process of interaction is played out visually in the piece, mimicking the internal experience.

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