Mail art by Allison Anne (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Allison Anne is always a welcome friend here at M-L and now on the Asemic Front as well.
Here at the Mink Ranch we are, as the old saying goes, forever “a day late and a dollar short” when it comes to giving Tenderfoots a sneak peek into our ever-amazing mailbag. And this piece – made by Allison Anne in April – is a standout we are thrilled to be able to document, finally.
Can a piece of mail art be a “perfect” composition? Allison Anne has managed to blend the best qualities of the mail art tradition with contemporary innovations that keep the network thriving today. We’ll try to let you form your own responses, but we’d like to point out three notable aspects of this art by Allison Anne:
The outside envelope is FAB and totally integrated with the work. In our estimation, Allison Anne has a tremendous sense of color – or maybe her aesthetics just match our own sensibilities. Whatever, we think the envelope is gorgeous. A closer view:
Tremendous envelope art for those who truly love mail art! The centerpiece of the work is a collage-assemblage that uses Allison Anne’s hair – a wonderful inclusion that looks back on sentimental postal traditions of the 19th century (at least that far back) as well as avant garde art. (The duality of this work is what makes it so strong.) Does Allison Anne know about the MinXus Who Has The Best Hair Contest (2014)? We always say: “MinXus is about who has the best hair.” So Allison Anne scores a gigantic Mink Ranch hit with this piece:
Allison Anne also uses the envelope-within-an-envelope concept. This gives the piece additional depth:
Inside is a seven-page letter! This is why we use the term Correspondence Art in the title of this post. One stark difference between contemporary mail art and pre-internet mail art is the disappearance of letters and writing as part of the exchange process. (Ray Johnson used letters heavily.)
Letters are hardly necessary today. Most mail artists communicate via the net and exchange material (rather than digital) art. The whole thing works very smoothly. But there are certainly people wishing to explore the letter form, and Allison Anne has done that in an interesting way this piece.
We won’t publish the entire letter, but here is a sample:
Allison Anne uses a portion of the letter to explain her thoughts on the composition of this FAB mail art package. Thus, the work is made self-reflexive, process oriented and we are given a conceptual framework. Here is an explanatory passage from Allison Anne’s letter: “… i’ve been saving clippings from my haircuts for the past year or so (I do my own hair…. crudely. beauty school dropout – seriously!) & have been thinking about doing a series of moveable reliquary collages – like catholic scapulars mixed w/a memento mori – always had a fascination w/ Victorian hair jewelry/ wreaths/ mourning objects… the idea of an object that’s more like a ‘memento temporis’….” Fantastic text that enhances the work!
Deepest thanks to Allison Anne for the great piece!