When was the last time you wrote a hand-written letter? Or read a book made of paper instead of on your Kindle? Wrote a check? As we shift closer and closer to becoming a paperless society, it seems that by foregoing that physical connection with common materials, we are losing some little part of the soul of our humanity. Albuquerque, New Mexico artist, Valerie Roybal takes the forgotten ephemera of the past and resurrects it, giving it a new life through her work.
Just as much of the joy of a handwritten card comes from the process– the choosing of just the right design, taking the time to sit down and write, the physical sensation of putting pen to paper, walking it to the mailbox– so is Roybal’s work process-driven. From her artist statement, “Order, association, and reverence emerges from the sorting, arranging, and placement of each accumulated piece into a whole.”
In her “In the Library” series, the artist uses that process of sorting and arranging to create compositions reminiscent of stacked book spines. There is a kind of random orderliness to these not unlike a library of treasured collections.
Through her work, Roybal also explores natural physiological processes such as cell mutations. The resulting compositions possess the seeming precision of scientific illustrations, but with the bursts of life and color that remind us of the wonder of the organic world.
Featured image is Transmission, mixed media. All images are via the artist’s website.