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Marnie Powers-Torrey ~ Utah

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Marnie Powers Torrey porait Marnie Powers-Torrey is the Managing Director of the Book Arts Program and Red Butte Press at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

You see, I mean or Everything Happens at Once or It Is What It Is or Poems I Couldn't Write

[Salt Lake City]: Marnie Powers-Torrey, [2023]. Edition of 25.

4 x 3.75" paper formed lidded box with 4 x 3.5" clear plastic pieces laid at bottom of box and on top of book pieces to add stability. Retreating accordion structure. Line drawings and text letterpress printed from photopolymer plates. Solid silhouettes printed from laser-engraved wood blocks. Text set in Super clarendon. Paper waxed Masa. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "This interactive piece was made in response to the call for ‘Seeking Balance’, an invitational exhibition curated by Kayla Clark. The images are derived from photographs, mostly snapshots taken by the artist post-2000. The two 14" x 31" sheets were letterpress printed from photopolymer plates and laser-engraved woodblocks and then treated with beeswax. Each of the sheets was then cut down into four 3.5" high strips and folded into retreating accordions, a structure developed by the artist. The viewer/reader is invited to reconstruct the printed forms by matching segments of individual figures, stacking one folded form on top of another with the goal of constructing a balanced whole.

“Figures who are contemporaneous and in an implied relationship, appearing in groups of two or more, are printed solid, suggesting bodies of land. Individual figures are represented as line drawings, alluding to travel routes over land, sea, or air, creating intersections which might be accidental or planned. The gestures and particularities of the silhouetted figures are singular in their subtleties and thus register as authentic humans rather than cookie cutouts. Still, the lack of distinguishable, identifying features produces a graphic, iconic quality which allows each viewer to apply personal experiences, make visual and conceptual connections, and construct individual narratives. The colors are vibrant and in conjunction with the layered, overlapping compositions convey a sense of overwhelmingness. The figures exist both on the same plane as well as within distinct three-dimensional spaces, connotating an urban living space. The various scales and hues imply receding space and variance in time, producing a confused hierarchy. In some moments, there seems to be rapport between individually printed figures while in others, tensions are insinuated. The subtitling references Lucy Lippard's ‘I see, You mean’ and Warren Lehrer's ‘I mean, You know’. "
$300 Volume 1
$300 Volume 2
$500 Both volumes

Constructs vol. 1
Vol. 1
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Constructs Vol.2
Vol. 2
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Everything Has a Language
By Marnie Powers-Torrey
[Salt Lake City]: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2019. Edition of 100.

3" x 6.5". Materials: paper; ink; wax; gray Fabriano Tiziano and white & cream Ingres papers. Printed on a Risograph duplicator. Interlocking loops accordion structure. Split edition of waxed and unwaxed sheets.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "Printed from around 75 found objects, this book sculpture is a conglomerate of the past and a document of the here and now. Each of these objects carries its own narrative, inherent to its current shape and surface, told through stamped ink. The form is Hedi Kyle's interlocking loops structure. "

Levi Sherman, “The great achievement of this book is that such lofty speculations arise from what is, in fact, documentation of various found objects. Powers-Torrey’s process of mono-printing and stamping directly from inked objects gives an interesting and complex ontological status to both the objects and the resulting images. The images are narrative, built layer by layer from different forms, yet each mark is an index, the physical trace of an object. Thus, the objects are also subjects, the way that photography is always also about light. …

"’Everything Has a Language’ carries on the tradition of artists’ books as documentation and collection, but pushes the boundaries of intelligibility. It also seems to tap into newer currents in the broader art world, such as the influence of Object Oriented Ontology or other Post-humanisms.

Powers-Torrey lets objects speak for themselves, perhaps even among themselves. It is up to the human reader to make their own meaning, and both the artist and reader leave their mark on the book as they do this. The balance of this deeply personal, embodied meaning-making with the sense that the book’s images recede infinitely beyond translation is a productive and enjoyable tension. (See full review at ).
$30 unwaxed
$50 waxed

Everything Has a Language book
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The Distance We've Traveled & Train Tracts
By Marnie Powers-Torrey and Rachel Marston [Salt Lake City]: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2017. Edition of 50.

5.5 x 5.75" folded cotton wrapper with pockets and tie closure. Text and textural elements printed letterpress from polymer plates. Pockets contain instruction pamphlet/travel journal, items for completing project, and completed boustrophedon of the poetry. Signed by poet and artist. Numbered.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "In November 2018, Amie Tullius invited Marnie to contribute to the production and dissemination of a traveling literary journal 'Train Tracts', a collaborative effort led by Amie and Stefanie Dykes of Saltgrass Printmakers. Marnie was paired with writer Rachel Marston, Assistant Professor English at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Minnesota, who offered a challenging text for interpretation and visual translation. The final edition of thirteen was due to the post office by January 31, 2019 so that the tracts, twelve editions of collaborative artists books by printmakers/book artists & creative writers, could be shipped to Art Mules. The Art Mules then delivered the tracts to train stations and sent them on their individual journeys. Train traveling readers were invited to add verbal and/or visual responses to the tract. Each tract contained return postage and the request to return it in time for an exhibition at the Rio Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah in March 2019.

"'The Distance We've Traveled', one of these train tracts, is a frank, complex, and moving account of the writer's experience with breast cancer that brims with visual language. [Original instructions] The book is a series of sixteen, 4.25" x 4.25" panels to be sewn into a stiff-leaf boustrophedon by readers during the journey. The text, divided by the author into twelve sections, was divided across thirteen panels to parallel the pre-existing structure of the manuscript. The text requires the reader to stitch together panels in order to map the progression of the journey.

"The sixteen panels are packed in a cotton pouch made of cloth suggesting a hospital gown. The snapped breast pocket accommodates tools for the reader to use in completion of the project, including: needles and thread, colored pencils and a sharpener, a small hand-carved stamp, stamp pads, two sheets of custom-made stickers, a custom-made plastic drawing template, and a small, saddle-stitched journal. The pouch readily holds the 16 panels before and after binding."

Text excerpt:

When the doctor removes the bandages, I avert my eyes. I do not look down at my chest, even as she examines the stiches and pronounces that I am healing well. My husband sits opposite me and if he watches, I do not know.

What I know is this: my body before and my body after.


The Distance We've Traveled & Train Tracts book
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Roadside Attractions, boxed set
By Marnie Powers-Torrey
Salt Lake City: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2017. Deluxe boxed edition of 35.

5.5 x 5.5" four-flap box containing four 2.5 x 2.5" volumes laid in sectioned base. Each volume in paper slipcase. Found objects inked and printed on Masa, Niddegen, Lana Laid, and Domestic Etch via letterpress and gelatin monoprinting as well as stamping and risography. Volume 1 treated with sumi ink and salt wash. Volume III treated with wax. Each volume is a one page book with snake fold construction. Each volume signed and numbered by the artist. Box illustrated and with paper title label and twine and grommet closure.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "Roadside Attractions documents collected evidence, inviting the reader to draw individual conclusions on the quasi-environmental study conducted by the artist. The small boustrophedon forms take notice of the intricacy of waste that proliferates at America's roadsides. Each book is a grid of micro-meditations that attempt to balance human being's misuse of resources with our incredible ingenuity and progress. The prints document tiny indicators of how we thrive and falter —each micro page a critical piece of an unknown something. The books' structure invites the viewer to map these discarded pieces without promise of arrival at a final destination. Simultaneously, the viewer is engaged in hypothesizing about the broken objects' former uses. ... The deluxe set travels in a box that opens like the back of a caravan wagon, taking goods and entertainment on the road."

Roadside Attractions, boxed set
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Roadside Attractions
By Marnie Powers-Torrey
[Salt Lake City]: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2017. Variable edition of 40.

2.5 x 2.5" closed, extends to 10 x 10"; one sheet book. Snake fold. Signed on back page of book. In paper slipcase with printed titles. Hand-numbered on slipcase.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "This small boustrophedon takes notice of the intricate waste that proliferates at America's roadsides. The book is a grid of micro-meditations that attempt to balance our startling misuse of the planet with human beings' incredible ingenuity. The prints document tiny indicators of how our country thrives and falters, each small page a critical piece of an unknown something, and the book structure a map of discarded pieces of the great American puzzle. The found objects were inked and printed on Masa via letterpress and gelatin monoprinting. Each single sheet was treated with a sumi ink and salt wash, folded, and housed in a paper slipcase which is signed and numbered by the artist."

Roadside Attractions book
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By Marnie Powers-Torrey
Salt Lake City, Utah: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2016. Edition of 32.

4.75 x 6.75"; 14 pages including pastedowns. Letterpress printed from polymer and metal type. Bound in paper over boards with cloth spine. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "Edition of 32, the age of the artist when she became pregnant and gave birth to her second child, realizing that she'd never be the same again.

"Work on this book began in 2006 in a workshop with the brilliant Julie Leonard, just after the birth of the artist's third and last child. After nine years of gestation, the book was finally released into the world. Imagery is derived from circular ink washes suggesting the cyclical nature of being, constancy of motion, revolving planets, ripe ovum, and lactating breasts. The text is experimental and broken, collected in haste throughout the early years of motherhood. Stripped of formality and exposing raw, maternal femininity, the words string together a visual poem of primal and authentic language. The book was printed in over fifty runs from polymer and metal type."

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By Marnie Powers-Torrey
Salt Lake City, Utah: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2000. Edition of 15.

4.5 x 4.75"; 12 pages. Double-sided accordion structure. Handset Goudy Open. Photographs printed letterpress and intaglio from polymer plates and zinc cuts. Text printed from handset metal type on Alcantara papers. Bound in boards with title on front board. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "This two-sided accordion is an homage to the diverse and awe-inspiring rocks found in Utah and to the stories, both historical and geological, that they tell. The warm intaglio prints imbed the intensity of the desert landscape midday, and the letterpress images present the artist's reflection on rocks as the desert cools."
Evidence book
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A Casual Commentary
(Front Seat USA)

By Marnie Powers-Torrey
Salt Lake City, Utah: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 1999. Edition of 15.

7.875 x 11"; 22 pages. Twentieth Century Medium Italic typeface. Handset and printed on an Asbern letterpress at the University of Utah. The photographs are gum bichromate prints, photolithographs, and intaglio prints from photopolymer plates. Concertina structure bound in boards covered in texture black paper.

A cross-country road trip, recounted and pictured with bleary perception.

Marnie Powers-Torrey: "Visual and verbal snap shots taken through the lens of a car window by a twenty-something traveling across country. Individual stops are connected by the long road of the concertina spine."

Text excerpt: "Each day on the road will pass while you watch out the window. Every morning you begin where the night left you, and by evening you have seen enough to fill three states. The days conjoin in your mind, forming a condensed conception of your collective experiences (which you will refer to as your trip across country)."

A Casual Commentary book
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Marnie Powers-Torrey SOLD/Out of Print Titles:  

The Warm-Blooded Book
By Marnie Powers-Torrey
Salt Lake City, Utah: Marnie Powers-Torrey, 2000. Edition of 5.

7 x 11"; 96 pages. Handset Van Dijck printed on a Vandercook Universal. Printed on Roma laid handmade paper. Illustrated with Van Dyke brown prints. Endpapers of Lokta. Quarter leather spine with deer hide boards. Laid in wrapper with velcro closure. Housed in cloth-covered clamshell box. Written, illustrated, designed, printed, and bound by Marie Powers-Torrey. Signed and numbered.

A paean to books. Simple & elegant.

Showcasing the Art of the Book, The Magazine of the University of Utah Vol. 16 No.2: "Powers-Torrey, studio manager of the Book Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, says her piece 'attempts to communicate, in content and as an object, the sensual experience of handling and reading a book.' Covered in buckskin, her creation is titled, appropriately, The Warm-Blooded Book. 'The deer fur cover and title are unmistakable references to the life held within this or any book object,' she says. The debossed nature of the letterpress printing and the Roma laid paper—a handmade specialty paper with a slightly ribbed effect—also add to the book’s sensuousness. 'And the leather spine over cords emphasizes the parallel nature of a book to a human skeletal system,' she notes.

"'This book is about the experience of holding a book, turning its pages,' Powers-Torrey says, 'so the interaction between reader and book is emphasized by the frequent page-turning required to experience it.'

"The 48-page book features images of hands holding and handling books interspersed with lines of text about the experience of reading a book (excerpted here):

A book first opened/ is reticent/ its spine unwilling/ to concede/ pages turning crisply/ but falling softly/ a book/ visited many times/ crackles open/ spine falling heavily/ pages turning/ with barely a sound / within sentences/ the space/ between you/ and your book/ has narrowed/ and the real world/ gives way/ to a world more real/ where no screen exists/ between you/ and spirited pages/ of tactile memory"
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Warm-Blooded book
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Page last update: 03.13.2023


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