12 August, 2013

Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger essays by Krystyna Wasserman, Mark Pascale, and Audrey Niffenegger [Paul, Birkenhead Library]

I never read The Time Travellers Wife on account of the movie which I never saw either, except the trailer with the actor I can't be bothered with for no good reason I can think of. Also, time travel. Is it even possible without a tardis?

Anyway, I didn't realise Niffenegger was an artist as well and its always interesting when a scribbler's a doodler too, so maybe I will revisit TTTW, one day, time permitting.

This book divides her work into three convenient sections: "visual novels," self-portraits, and dreamland, which certainly help you get a feel for it as long as you're not too pigeonholier-than-thou about labels. Wasserman's intro is well worth it too in this regard.

The visual novels will help put Raven Girl in context, but I particularly enjoyed the self-portraits. With titles like 'Nest' and 'Monkey Mind,' 'Tornado Head,' and 'Bad Fairy,' you can probably tell (because you're amazingly perceptive as well as exceptionally good-looking) that she has a sardonic sense of self. Clear, with whatever else she is saying, about the vanity implicit in these projects.

Is she any good, technically speaking? Wouldn't have a clue mate! However being rather easily impressed I couldn't help but be impressed with the range of media she used: oil on wood, ink, coloured pencil, gouache, found paper, hand-dyed paper, graphite on persimmon paper.. I'm pretty sure next she'll be working directly with fruit.

Oh, that's been done.

And, yeah, the content. 'Dreamland' is as it's described. It's spooky, folklorish, a trifle macabre. Refer yourself to the book title for a proper sense of the eeriness.

Don't get too friendly with ravens.

Title: Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger.
Author: Essays by Krystyna Wasserman, Mark Pascale, Audrey Niffenegger.
Publisher: Powerhouse, 2013.

Reviewed by Paul, Birkenhead

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