Melissa Wagner-Lawler


My current line of work investigates the moments before disaster or destruction. Elements of tension, the breakdown of information and the fragility of circumstance culminate in prints and artists’ books. Each set of work focuses on this differently. In the event of moon disaster uses the text of William Safire’s speech written for the President in 1969 in case the Apollo 11 mission was not successful. These things are not for certain uses structures and land masses as a way to create moments of tension within the composition. Meanwhile, Everything You Hear investigates the breakdown of communication in the digital environment.

All of my work is completed as series or multiples. The nature of the bound book structure allows me to work sequentially and I can control the order in which the viewer discovers the information, but only to a point. This is the inherent beauty of artist books – the provided structure allows the audience to create the meaning of the work through the viewing process. The book work is hand-printed, editioned and bound by me. Although the element of the hand in the creation of the object is very relevant to the process, the final aesthetic is clean and removes many traces of human involvement.