Litkus Press ~ California
(Mariona Barkus)

 
   
Mariona Barkus: "Since I began making art over thirty years ago, I have used image and text — often laced with humor — to express social and political commentary. My media include sculpture, painting, digital prints, and artists' books. Since its inception in 1981, my Illustrated History has chronicled some of the comic absurdities of contemporary American life in the form of postcard folios, broadsides, and poster installations.

"My work covers a wide range of issues — the travails of air travel, ecological disasters in the making, war, the narrowing of individual freedoms, corporate exploitation of workers, co-optation of feminism by the fashion and plastic surgery industries, and consumerism. My more personal works are embodiments of an ongoing inner dialogue."
   
Illustrated History series  
   
the flower and the butterfly
By Mariona Barkus
Los Angeles, California: Litkus Press, 2003. Edition of 250.

6.25 x 5"; 9 unnumbered pages. Docutech printed in black & white. Black comb binding with clear plastic front & back covers.

Mariona Barkus: "the flower and the butterfly explores some of the mystery of the changeful nature of people in a relationship. A sweet simplicity of drawing and text combine to express a sense of hopefulness and renewal."

Judith Hoffberg, Umbrella, review: "The Flower and the Butterfly by Mariona Barkus is based on an original done in 1972. It was all hand drawn and hand written, done by Barkus to understand a relationship that was unfolding between her and her partner. They had met about a year before. Being that it was 30 years ago, both parties were confused, trying to forge a relationship which each didn't want to burden with the concept of 'relationship' for fear it would ruin it all. But it also reflected a state of mind of a young woman with delayed adolescence, being encouraged to be herself and blossom forth by a sweet guy who also had a bit of growing up to do.

"Taking roles as flower (she) and butterfly (he), the text is integrated beautifully with the drawings of each. The introspective and the dilemma voiced by the 'flower' certainly appeal to all of us who have tried to understand relationship. A lovely little book."

$20

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Generations
a fictional family history

By Mariona Barkus
Los Angeles, California: Litkus Press, 1984. Edition of 20.

3.75 x 3.75"; 16 pages. Signed and numbered. In matching envelope. Produced as part of an artist in residence program at the Women's Graphic Center in Los Angeles, which is funded in part by NEA.

This "fictional family history" unfolds so that three pages are always on display. The opening page of six postage stamp sized photographs remains constant throughout the telling of tales. The stories are juxtaposed with these postage stamp sized snapshots. The stories explore what Barkus calls the "archetypal women within me."

Mariona Barkus: "These are stories my mother told me as I tried to define what I was supposed to grow up to be - a WOMAN. Now, I search for the sources of my strengths and weaknesses. An odd mixture of gumption and acquiescence."
$50


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Since its inception in 1981, Illustrated History series has chronicled contemporary social and political issues.
   
llustrated History: The Collection
By Mariona Barkus
Los Angeles, California: Litkus Press, 2013. Edition of 10.

13 x 19.5" black archival clamshell box containing 15 folios, the first published in 1981, the last in 2013. Offset printing. Portfolio 1981: 13 x 16", 11 sheets, Xeroxed, limited edition of 50 (ten set aside for this collection). Portfolios 1982 - 2003; 7.25 x 5.5" with 8 black and white postcards. Laid in postcard portfolio.

Mariona Barkus: "Following its inception in 1981, my Illustrated History Series has chronicled some of the comic absurdities of contemporary American life in the form of postcard folios, broadsides, and poster installations."

Josef Woodard, "Artworks a Fusion of Technology, Satire," Los Angeles Times (7/18, 1996): "Barkus' work draws its juice more from the muse of satire. Her art can, simultaneously, elicit muted sniggers and winces of recognition. Generally, Barkus' scheme is to concoct wry mock-advertisements, tapping into graphic design norms of the 1950s.

"Naturally, there is a built-in irony in her form and function, addressing such '90s issues as the nuclear threat and gender inequality with kitschy postwar ad campaign tactics.

"Writing in an artist statement, Barkus says she is 'interested in revealing the dissonance that results when I present elements of our culture in imagery reminiscent of an earlier era when modernism held the promise of an enlightened future.' In this post-postmodern transition period in art, Barkus takes her place alongside the new social satirists. "


Judith Hoffberg, Umbrella Vo l4, No 5, review: "Illustrated History - 1981 by Mariona Barkus is a large portfolio of color Xerox prints and newspaper articles which have become part of the life and limb of this artist, as she keeps track of herself and her world. The prints are oversize, registered perfectly and adhered on rag paper; the articles are also Xeroxed and state things like 'Pollution kills more than Korean War' and then there are giant stacks pouring forth the muck that we inhale. Or for May, 'U.N. Votes Curbs on Infant Formula' which depicts figure after figure of Southeast Asian mothers carrying babies. The selection is highly volatile, making political and social statements which impose themselves not only on the artist but on all of us. The subject matter is powerful, the presentation ingenious and dynamic. A beautifully produced limited edition of 50."

Judith Hoffberg, Umbrella, Vol 11, No 1, review: "Illustrated History 1986 by Mariona Barkus is the sixth in a series of yearly chronicles of contemporary issues. Most of the illustrations and writing are based on newspaper articles, transformed into black and white postcards. From Pentagon toilet seat sales to hazardous waste sites, Barkus hits the nail on the head with the absurdity of many of our policies. Aimed at social and political activists of all ages, it is recommended to buy one book for yourself and one to ship out postcard page by postcard page via the international postal service to friends and enemies alike. ..."
$450


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Illustrated History No. 14
By Mariona Barkus
Los Angeles, California: Litkus Press, 2009. Edition of 200.

7.25" x 5.5"; 8 black and white postcards. Offset postcard folio.

Mariona Barkus: "Since its inception in 1981, my Illustrated History series has chronicled some of the comic absurdities of contemporary American life in the form of postcard folios, broadsides, and poster installations.

"As in all 13 earlier editions, the stories are true, the illustrations are constructs. Issues explored - suspension of habeas corpus by the Military Commissions Act, USDA renames 'hunger' as 'low food security,' No Child Left Behind narrows school curriculums, disillusionment with over-consumption, nanoparticles in the environment, hate groups increase in number, the demise of the penny, The World Institute of Slowness advocates mindful living."

$20

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Illustrated History No. 15
By Mariona Barkus
Los Angeles, California: Litkus Press, 2013. Edition of 200.

7.25 x 5.5"; 8 black and white postcards. Offset postcard folio.

Mariona Barkus: "As I worked on this fifteenth edition, I kept hearing a voice within, asking, 'Has the surreal become the new normal?' I'll let you, dear reader, be the judge. The stories are true, typeset to look 'right out of the newspaper' although they're not. And as in earlier editions, the illustrations incorporate my collage-photo-painting-drawing process."

This volume of Illustrated History includes "Prisons for Profit," "Drones Are Coming!," "Energy Renaissance," and more.
$20

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Page last update: 06.06.14

 

   
  
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