Allyson Clay / Unless

From Issue 3.48: 50th Anniversary Issue 3/3 (Fall 2022)

Allyson Clay, Unless, 2021, silkscreen and letterpress prints, edition of 10, 36 × 56 cm (diptych) / 36 × 28 cm (each print). Photos by Rachel Topham Photography.

The limitations imposed by an incomplete set of four- and six-inch wooden type at Malaspina Printmakers formed the conceptual parameters for the diptych “Unless.” Because of the size of the type, I felt the tone of the work had to be exhortatory, while the size and proportions of The Capilano Review (which I doubled for the actual prints) suggested the scale of a placard. The antiquated font, with its imperfect imprint, made me think of the history of protest and protest signs. Civil protests are fundamental to social and political change. In this work, I use the word “howl” as a synecdoche for poetry and its revolutionary potential. “Unless” is meant to be reflective, cautionary, hopeful.

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