PALIMPSEST: GAIN AND LOSS IN A HUMAN LANDSCAPE
A palimpsest is a work produced by the ancient practice of layering
new text over older writing in a manuscript that has been only
partially erased. Daydreams the small book you hold in your hands,
is made in this tradition. Drawings that feel like the accidental
traces of the artist's hand, like breath over fragile paper, are
interspersed with pages from books of poetry or prose, which Edith has
scrupulously painted over, page by page, leaving only a word here, a
sentence there. The ambiguous duality between support and surface, the fertility that comes from layering and erasure, is what the palimpsest yields. To unveil what?
When I look at a palimpsest, I instantly feel a sense of bewilderment
and loss - not so much personal loss as the feeling that, in these
layers upon layers, I confront a civilization that made the world that
came before me, and as much as I would like to enter it, alas, I
cannot. Or can I? Is the erased text really lost forever, or are these
layers proof that the human experience is rewritten again and again,
trace after trace, generation after generation? And could this latest
touch of a human hand perhaps testify to an existence that, though
also destined to pass, still carries with it, seemingly unaware, a
knowledge long gone by. It must be this way. Nothing is lost: the
human landscape is rewritten by human existence.
Similarly, when I walk down a city street or follow a path in the
woods, I walk where others have walked before. On what unknown layers do I walk unaware? Who am I in the landscape and what traces do I leave behind on my path? I too am one of the layers.
In her palimpsests/drawings, Edith revisits the path she walks in her
paintings, where her gesture celebrates the fragility of human
landscape through constant layering and erasure.