Annie Vought: Paper Cut Letters

A fellow artist brought my attention to Annie Vought. Her work is meticulous and beautiful. She says this about her body of work:

"Email, text messages, instant messaging and Twitter are all examples of fun and immediate means of 'written' communication. Through the computer I am in touch with people I may never have seen before and I can respond in real time to a loved one. But with the ubiquity of this access and convenience, we are losing the tangible handwritten letter. Handwritten records are fragments of individual histories. In the penmanship, word choice, and spelling the author is often revealed in spite of him/herself. A letter is physical confirmation of who we were at the moment it was written, or all we have left of a person or a time...I have been working with cut out correspondence for the past four years. I meticulously recreate notes and letters that I have found, written, or received by enlarging the documents onto a new piece of paper and intricately dissecting the negative spaces with an Exact-o knife. The handwriting and the lines support the structure of the cut paper, keeping it strong and sculptural, despite its apparent fragility. In these paper cutouts, I focus on the text, structure, and emotion of the letter in an elaborate investigation into the properties of writing and expression. Penmanship, word choice, and spelling all contribute to possible narratives about who that person is and what they are like. My recreating the letters is an extended concentration on peoples’ inner lives and the ways they express their thoughts through writing."

I too am grieving the decline of the handwritten note or letter. I still attempt it occasionally and keep a drawer of stationery. I love letterpress cards and try to send those to friends and family.

But I'm not interested in making work about other people's letters, as Annie does. It is good for me to look at her work, as I am getting into paper text installations. I'm just more selfish, perhaps. I am interested in my OWN handwriting, perceiving it as the truest self-expression of my own unique mark-making. The hand is mine, the 'font' is mine. I am fascinated by the idea of text as art, text as image. And the huge range of temperature it connotes, from a personal warmth to an impersonal chill. I want my installations to resonate as personal.

I admire Annie's scale. It appears she's created some small paper cut letters and others that are very large. I am interested in scale, as well. I want my text to live large, to explode up and down a wall, or to slowly and quietly seep across the entire surface. But either way, to have an engulfing presence. I just bought a neat, old house with vast wall space. I may try my hand at some painted, large-scale text. And leave the temporary installations at other venues to paper. The options are exciting to consider.

Visit Annie's website at: