Erika DeFreitas: very strongly may be fainting
Art Gallery of York University, 2017
4×6 in, 100 pp, B&W, softcover
Our second modest artists’ book is from the Scarborough-based Erika DeFreitas.
Rifling through the very western canon of art history, DeFreitas goes on a treasure hunt for hands that compare more favourably to her own than are usually attributed as the hand of the artist. Sources range from medieval statuary to Grace Jones to Carrie Mae Weems to nineteenth-century psychiatric patients to Archibald Motley’s grandmother to, not surprisingly, her own mother, grounded by a text that riffs off Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.
While modest in format, it is certainly not modest in content. The introduction reads:
May be slightly. May be pleasingly. May be severely.
May be laboriously. May be playfully enacting.
May be exposing and attacking.
Very tenderly may be. Very piously may be.
Very strongly may be
Very strangely may be.
Very strangely may not be.
Very strangely may not be strange to us.
Eventually I found what may be
(very intimately, very ordinarily may be)
the back of my hand and nothing else.
This publication was designed in-house and printed by Swimmers Group, a local printer and publisher run by Sebastian Frye.