By Carrie Scanga
Portland, Maine: [Carrie Scanga], 2019. Edition of 6.
27 x 30 cm. Intaglio print with letterpress. Pages designed and printed by the artist. Each page includes an engraving with a stencil overprinting. Images appear on double page spreads. Cross out poems by Mark Melnicove. Drum-leaf bound in hardcover with foil stamping. A foil stamped slipcover fits over the hard cover to protect the white book cloth. Binding and foil-stamping by Martha Kearsley of Strong Arm Bindery. Scott Vile set the type and letterpress printed. Signed and numbered by the artist.
“Iceblink” is an interpretation of archival materials documenting the 1932 voyage by Marie Peary Stafford to Greenland to oversee the construction of a monument to her father, explorer Robert Peary. “Iceblink” refers to the perceptual phenomenon of white light reflected onto the underside of clouds close to the horizon from distant plains of ice.
Carrie Scanga: “I began this project in university library archives, searching for an understanding of the United States colonial imagination and academia, and how these relate to whiteness, female identity, and embodied experience. Making art has always been linked to personal and societal healing for me, and with this piece I wanted to better understand white supremacy in the institutions I work and move in, seeking to uncover the ways that I engage with those forces and systems. I made this work to better understand the social constructs of whiteness, wanting to learn about the part I play in white supremacist systems by piecing together the story of a white woman historical figure.
“Iceblink refers to the perceptual phenomenon of white light reflected onto the underside of clouds close to the horizon from distant plains of ice. The term reminds me of how I feel as like a white person today reading about a place through the colonial gaze of a white person from history.
“The landscapes depicted on Iceblink’s pages are framed, obscured, or defined by the material objects from Stafford’s life at home. The overlaying stencil shapes on top of the landscapes in these images are based on the material objects named in Stafford’s first day journal entry. The base layer of the book’s pages, engravings of land and seascape views, are interpretations of photographs taken by Stafford from the ship’s deck. While reading her travel journal, I considered my past travel experiences and how I saw places through the lens and baggage that I carried there with me.
“Nearly one hundred years after Stafford’s monument mission, as an art viewer and educator teaching at a private college, I recognize the colonial gaze in myself. This gaze has unconsciously informed how I learned to make art and have a career, and it has defined how I move in the art world. As an artist and teacher, I seek to fracture this gaze, and naming it through making .“