Mail art by Ruth Giles (Tunbridge Wells, Britain)
Tenderfoots often ask me, “Rancher how is mail-arting in the Digital Age different from back in the Golden Age of Snail Mail Art when you sauntered down the winding trail under a sky so much more expansive and blue than it is today?”
This wonderful package from Ruth Giles in Britain gives me a perfect opportunity to offer an example of the difference between now and then: Through the digital realm (IUOMA-Ning in particular) I became a big fan of Ruth Giles’ collage work well before I received her mail “in the flesh” as the old prospectors used to say. In the Golden Age of Snail Mail that familiarity as well as depth of knowledge of the art was much less likely to occur (although you could become familiar with someone’s work in the zines before you began corresponding.) Familiarity grew through long correspondence.
Ruth Giles makes highly dense collage constructs that juxtapose text and image, allowing for multiple associations. What takes time – I think – is locating fully her considerable irony, humor and sense of the absurd, which is what sets her work apart and makes it shine. (Good irony is not all that easy to find these days.)
They used to say Ray Johnson “sparkles.” Ruth Giles sparkles too. Or at least I find it very engaging. Some might call her “quirky”; others might call her “idiosyncratic.” Personally, I find Ruth Giles’ art in the DaDa current running through Ray Johnson that has put so much magic into mail art.
Ruth Giles kindly sent me her “Can” collage, which I had admired effusively at IUOMA-Ning. But first, an even greater surprise was this wonderful Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) that I am assuming is titled Conform to Survive. Perhaps this is considered an artist’s book or a zine. I have noticed these single-artist pieces are often called zines. I am holding to the idea that zines have multiple contributors (although I am flexible).
Tenderfoots know I am hung up on categories. But I shall call this Ruth Giles work a Tacky Little Pamphlet in the tradition of its network originators Wild Billy Haddock (as he was know to me) and John M. Bennett. Conform to Survive is a wonderful piece that showcases the talents of Ruth Giles.
Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) by Ruth Giles
Here is the collage:
Mail art by Ruth Giles (UK)
FAB envelope too!
And a bonus!
Deepest thanks to Ruth Giles!