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American River

By Thomas Parker Williams and Mary Agnes Williams
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Luminice Press, 2022. Edition of 12.

7.25” x 9.25” x .6” closed, extends to 106..5”; 6 folded panels. Accordion structure extending from back board foredge. Oil-based relief inks and dry pigments in burnt plate oil. Text letterpress printed from polymer plates. Six original images hand printed with 41 pochoir mylar stencils; Bound in paper over board with oil-based pochoir image with spine of Washi Linen. Concept, design, illustrations, pochoir, printing, binding by Thomas Parker Williams. Concept, text layout, original and selected text, printing by Mary Agnes Williams.

One pulls out a lovely pochoir of a river blue and flowing that evokes images of contemplation and serenity, beauty and freedom but as the river narrows these images become restricted, the river narrows. The introduction had already set the tone of something lurking just outside our view – “We are losing our freedoms, one by one”.

“Clean Air – the freedom to breathe air not polluted with toxins
Safety – the freedom to live without fear of deadly guns
Women’s Autonomy – the freedom to control their own bodies
Voting – the freedom to participate in our democracy .”

Behind the flowing river on the reverse of the accordion are printed the summary of four congressional acts that were to guarantee protections for clean air, gun control, women’s reproductive rights, and voting rights. On the recto side of the page is the action that reversed or diminished the original act listed on the opposite page.

  • West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (June 30, 2022) / Clean Air Act (December 31, 1970)
  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen (June 23, 2022) /The Sullivan Act (May 30, 1911)
  • Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (June 24, 2022)/ Jane Roe v. Henry Wade (January 2, 1973)
  • Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Attorney General (June 25, 2013)/Voting Rights Act of 1965

The last entry is that of George Floyd’s statement “I can’t Breathe” (May 25, 2020) with the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States printed on the opposite page.

American River

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