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An Ideal Nowhere / Finding My Utopia

By Gina Louise Fowler
Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The Puzzled Press, 2022. Edition of 25.

Two items, "In Dreamland" and "An Ideal Nowhere: Finding my Utopia", are housed in a custom clamshell box. "In Dreamland" was letterpress printed on a Vandercook SP15 using plastic placemats and photopolymer. "s" is printed and bound as a pamphlet and includes both letterpress and inkjet printing. Signed and numbered by the artist on the colophon which is in the base interior of the box.

The Puzzled Press: An Ideal Nowhere’ is a collection of work that explores the relationship between personal experiences and utopian societies. It includes In Dreamland and An Ideal Nowhere: Finding My Utopia housed together… ‘In Dreamland’ features text from Annie Denton Cridge's utopian fiction piece ‘Man's Rights; orHow Would You like It?’ which was originally published in 1870 … ‘An Ideal Nowhere: Finding My Utopia’ is an essay on the connections between utopian literature and contemporary social issues, written by the artist. … Both works predominantly feature an image representing a segment of river that includes the Missouri Headwaters, where the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers meet near Three Forks, Montana and mark the official start of the Missouri River.”

Gina Louise Fowler, excerpt: “The work of Annie Denton Cridge explores questions about relationships and society that are still shockingly resonant in 2022, despite the fact that women in the United States gained partial suffrage over a century ago. ‘Man’s Rights: or, How Would You Like it?’ asks readers to think about the roles they fill in society, and what it would be like to live someone else’s life, with all of the judgments and expectations placed on them solely because of characteristics that they cannot control. In searching for a way to express my feelings about experiencing America in 2022, Annie Denton Cridge’s words spoke much more eloquently than I could have about the balance between dreamland and reality.

“The ideal nowhere will always remain at least one step away, somewhere in Dreamland, but Annie Denton Cridge begs that we ask the question: What does it mean when we repeatedly dream of a place or a people to the point that they become as real to us as the world we inhabit?”

An Ideal Nowhere / Finding My Utopia

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