MinXus Mail Bag: Gu’s Snail Mail Revolution is a Riot (Norfolk, UK)

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 3

Mail art by Gu (Norwich, Norfolk, UK)

 

Tenderfoots need no introduction to longtime Mink Ranch and network fave Gu (aka Gina Ulgen). She is widely admired among us as an artist in general, a brilliant collage artist in particular and – especially with this recent package – a creative spirit capable of transforming mundane mail into art.

We find every aspect of this assemblage carefully considered and inter-connected. We also see some interesting evolution (perhaps not revolution) in Gu’s work. First, here is an overview of the envelope and its contents:

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 1

 

Gu generously includes postcard-size examples of her collage as well as supporting ephemera. To us, every piece has a necessary place in the visual syntax that creates a structure. Here are the reverse sides:

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 2

 

Gu has developed a distinctive artistic style (her collage work is easily recognizable) using complex verbal-visual puns, popcult imagery with an emphasis on the retro-historical and an eye for image absurdity closer to the sensibility of Surrealism than Da Da.

Thus, Gu is not a Warholian literalist although she shares with the master an interest in the mass produced images that swim in the collective unconscious. We think, indeed, her work is filled with sharp irony and awareness and she explores the juxtapositions of changing fashion to deepen and intensify her work. She draws from the trope of the “pin-up girl” and the increasingly complicated representation of gender roles.

The “Snail Mail Revolution” stamp is FAB:

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 4

 

Here are the contents of the package:

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 5

Mail art by Gu (Norwich, Norfolk, UK)

 

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 6

 

In previous work, Gu’s puns, metaphors and themes have appeared more randomly and dispersed. They were often isolated to a single piece and did not necessarily have a relation to accompanying pieces. In this package we see (or we think we see!) the formation of far more consistent themes and metaphors. Those give unity to this mail art package as well.

Gu has often previously focused on images of women and fashion. In these pieces received that emphasis is pronounced and commentary seems to be made on the repressive and/or restrictive nature of the clothing. We’d call this a feminist turn in her work, but the descriptive is too reductive and confining in terms of the breadth and depth of the pieces. The giant bra is funny. We believe you do yourself and the piece a disservice to become, for instance, enraged about patriarchal control of women. Gu also uses cat imagery as a metaphor for the feminine.

Here is the ephemera that was included:

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 7

 

And the reverse:

 

Gu - 6.21.2018 - 8

 

Wonderful, wonderful art! Deepest thanks to Gina!

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