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Mardy Sears ~ Illinois

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Artist Bio: "Mardy Sears is an Evanston artist and a member of the Evanston Made art community. She is a printmaker, ceramicist, and artist book maker. After graduating with a Masters in Fine Arts from The Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago in 2006, she began working as a Conservation Technician with a focus on paper at The Art Institute of Chicago.

"Mardy’s visual language includes images of animals, primarily birds and sea creatures. Her animals tell stories of humanity and connect our everyday lives to the environment we live in. She incorporates text and poetry into her image making, that is often presented in book format. Her visual texture is influenced by the objects she works with at her job at the Art Institute of Chicago. Worn and aged surfaces such as joined sheets of paper and early book structures, which may be sewn, mended, and stained, are evident in her objects.

"At the Art Institute of Chicago, she spends her days framing works on paper for exhibitions and loans - which may play a part in her preference for making objects. Her ceramics are utilitarian and her prints and drawings are made to be handled. Sketches can be pulled from envelopes, books perused, and boxes opened to see what they contain."

   

Every Bird That Fly Gotta Come Down to Drink Water
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2004.
One-of-a-Kind.

12.5 X 9.5"; 30 pages. Chain stitched binding with handmade paper wrapped covers and pages. Linoleum and wood block prints, monoprint, pen and India ink, brush and Walnut Ink, hand tinted with watercolor.

Mardy Sears: "This artist book connects bird traits and personal memories about birds, with friends and family. Each page tells a story. The cover is from a dream, in which my future husband tells me to kiss him, but he has a sparrow in his mouth. The wing protrudes from his lips."
$1,200

 

Every Bird That Fly Gotta Come Down to Drink Water book
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Peek a Boo
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2003. One-of-a-Kind.

30pages; 12” X 16” X 1”. Wood laminate hinged covers with brown Lokta paper. Inset mica sheets. Walnut ink on white paper mounted to tan Rives BFK. Stamped text,

Mardy Sears: "The Peek a Boo book combines poses from porn magazines with text expressing real feelings. Mica windows act as peep holes for the upcoming show on the next page."
$600

Peek a Boo book
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Picking up the Pieces
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2003.
One-of-a-Kind.

7 1/8” X 7 1/4” X 1 1/2” (text block without bottles). Linoleum tile covers with chain stitched binding and handmade paper end sheets. Black Arches cover pages with graphite and sewing, glass bottles with cork stoppers

Mardy Sears: "'Picking Up the Pieces' compares news articles from 'The Times of India' and the 'Chicago Tribune', written on the events in Bhagdad during April of 2003. Pages have been punched and sewn, then the small discs of paper have been collected and inserted into glass bottles."

Key dates from the invasion of Baghdad:

March 20, 2003 US leads an invasion of Iraq
April 9, 2003 US forces take control of Baghdad, topples statue of Hussein
May 1, 2003 President George W. Bush announces that major combat operations by the US in Iraq have ended.

$800

Picking up the Pieces book
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Yoni
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2003. One-of-a-Kind.

9.75” X 6.75”. Wooden covers with cut out and veneer, mermaid purse. Wood block print and letterpress on handmade abaca and tan laid paper.

Mardy Sears: "Names for the vagina: cute, insulting, derogatory, empowering?"

For those of us who may not have known the title "Yoni" refers to the female organs of birth, the womb. It also can refer to female sexual organs. A vey visual and expressive book from the front cover to the last page.
$900

Yoni book
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Click here for the link to Instagram
   
   

Protection
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2001. One-of-a-Kind.

13” X 20” X 5/8”; 9 leaves, printed on the recto, blank on the reverse. Japanese stab binding with book cloth wrapped covers. Graphite drawing and handmade paper end sheets. Linoleum block prints on blue Magnani paper. Interleaved with glassine. Ribbon closure.

Mardy Sears: "In 2000 I went through a divorce and had to start over again. Divorces are rarely due to one person, and I will fully admit my part in the decline of my marriage. Protection is not about protecting myself from my husband, he was a good man - it is about protecting myself from all the pitfalls in life. As I began picking up the pieces, there were many people in my life who were looking out for me and offering advice on how to proceed. This artist book was made as a way of working through this difficult time in my life."
$800

Protection book
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Snakes
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2001. One-of-a-Kind.

8” X 7”; 12 leaves with images on recto and back blank. Single signature binding with google eyes attached and Lokta end sheets. Watercolor and pencil on Lanaquarelle watercolor paper. Ribbon closure.

Mardy Sears: "This is one of the first artist books I made during an introduction to book binding class in 2001. It is a single signature binding with google eyes added (just for fun!). It explores the topic of snakes - loaded with contradictory meaning by many cultures. Snakes are often sexualized, and both revered and abhorred."
$600

 

Snakes book
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Mardy Sears SOLD / Out of Print Titles:  
   

101 Pandemic Portraits
By Mardy Sears
Evanston, Illinois: Mardy Sears, 2021. Edition of 2.

9.5" X 8.5" X 2.5" altered book Caxton publication, "Chicago by the Book". Fold of each section lined with book cloth. Portraits printed using cyanotype process then cut and collaged onto each page using PVA. Some portraits with pierced holes around them and some sewn with red thread to give texture and an added connection between pages/people. Ethiopian binding made with walnut covers treated with oil and wax. Leather Chicago star attached to the front and back. Housed in a navy cloth covered drop spine box with handmade German marble paper liners.

Mardy Sears: "What shapes Chicago more than anything? This is the question I asked myself when The Caxton Club of Chicago contacted me about making a binding for the book, 'Chicago by the Book', 101 publications that shaped the city and its image. The answer I gave myself is: the people. I decided to create portraits of 101 Chicagoans to pair with the 101 publications; but how to go about this during a worldwide pandemic? I began at work while the Art Institute of Chicago was shut down and very few people were working in the museum. I wandered the empty galleries looking for those who were still doing their jobs - keeping the museum running. Almost half the portraits in this book were taken at work. I learned the names of colleagues whom I’ve worked with for a decade or more, and the project united us on a personal level at a time when we have been told to keep our distance. I found that the part of this project that filled me with dread, approaching people for photos, ended up giving me the greatest joy.

"Then as a polar vortex swept into Chicago and we had many days of snow, I began to take walks during lunch. I went into businesses that were still open and asked shopkeepers if I could photograph them for my project. I was often the only customer in the shop. I talked to strangers! I didn’t realize how much I enjoy talking to people I don’t know and it was such a pleasure to see their whole face. I took most of my photos in the downtown area surrounding the Art Institute. I knew I couldn’t visit every city neighborhood and this is a place where many people come to work. I hoped to include those who work for public transportation, police, and security, but I repeatedly found that they are not allowed to be photographed while on duty. I also had some refusals from those who felt they were unable to be photographed while wearing a company uniform, or without managerial approval. I hoped to photograph a pharmacist, but due to criticism surrounding the distribution of the COVID vaccination, they were unable to talk to any media or have their photo taken. I felt the most connection to those who work in small businesses, who are surviving a pandemic, shut downs, looting, and destruction of property. These are the few who have made it through difficulties and are still providing a service.

"This is not a group without bias - the portraits in this book have more to do with my own surroundings than anything else. Where did I go, and what did I see in the process? These photos as a whole tell a story of a place during a worldwide pandemic. Who continues to work onsite and interact with the public? Are there more men or women, young or old, how many are BIPOC? I remember where I was for each photo, some conversations, connections, and many instances of kindness."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

101 Pandemic Portraits book
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Gules
By Mardy Sears
Chicago: Crickets, Crows, and Retropects Press, 2005.
Edition of 10.

9 x 12"; 48 leaves, Dos-à-dos structure. Linoleum cuts. Printed on handmade paper of cotton rag and flax. Handset in various styles and sizes of Bodoni type and Gothic wood type. Printed on a Vandercook Universal 1 press. Double-hinged gatefold Ethiopian binding. Built from quarter sawn oak covers with crimson leather lining. Laid in red cloth box. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Mardy Sears: "Gules, meaning reddish, begins with a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, 'On a field sable, the letter 'A' gules.' I was motivated by the novel and by life events to create an artist book with the theme of adultery. The concept of this limited edition artist book marries text, taken from the answers to a questionnaire I drafted about thoughts regarding adultery, with photos of subjects wearing an embroidered scarlet letter. In order to capture precise expressions I used a photo transfer process to print the image onto linoleum blocks for carving. Both block-printed images and letterpress text are bound into separate books and hinged together in a dos-à-dos binding with oak covers."

Guild of Book Workers: "Gules … explores a topic that continues to be taboo in the jaded West, adultery. Mardy’s journalistic approach to gathering content delivers a broad range of freshly spoken perspectives on the 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of the act. Images of each subject, wearing the scarlet letter, have been carved into linoleum and printed on handmade flax paper, side by side with handset letterpress text. "
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Gules book
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Click here for the link to Instagram

   

My Curiosity Overwhelmed My Trepidation
By Mardy Sears
Chicago : Mardy Sears, 2006-2015.
One-of-a-Kind.

40” X 24” X 1.75”. Concertina binding with original wood printing blocks as covers. Wood block print and letterpress posters with hand tinting in Acryla gouache, monoprint and rubber stamping. Mounted to 2-ply black rag board and hinged with black linen tape.

Mardy Sears: "The title of this work is taken from a quote by Keith Cheng, when asked about his experiments isolating the color gene in zebra fish and the possible repercussions related to race and skin color. This series of prints, bound into an oversized book form, meld the language of the circus poster, both verbal and pictorial, with scientific events. The pages of this artist book represent a visual history of the way animals have been utilized and modified for scientific purposes. Innovations in science are some of the top stories in the news - just yesterday, scientists were creating copies of mammals, today they create new genetically altered animals, and tomorrow the unthinkable will be made real. The form of the circus poster, with its capacity to attract attention and exaggerate reality, displays and highlights today’s scientific curiosities. The original wooden block matrix has been repurposed as the cover of this unique artist book."

Originally printed as prints one set has been bound into this book. Broadsides printed in 2006 and bound in 2015.
(SOLD)

My Curiosity Overwhelmed My Trepidation book
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Page last update: 09.16.2021

   
                                                         
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