Skeletons and Figures from Book of Hours I, 2020. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.
Skeletons and Figures from Book of Hours I, 2020. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.

BOOK OF HOURS I & II, 2020 – 2021.  

Book I. LYING FALLOW 2020.      Book II. A COLD FRONT 2020 – 2021.

Nearly 800 mixed media playing card images with gold leaf numerals in two cotton rag books.

Closed book size: 430 x 320 x 60 mms.

 

Explore the Books & Watch the Film by Emily Richardson at The Art Station website:

www.bookofhours.theartstation.uk

 

Book of Hours I & II comprise nearly 800 mixed media images on playing cards*.  They form an extensive visual meditation devoted to recurring themes, personal curiosities as well as social and political events that were tracked for approximately 18 months from the first Lockdown in March 2020.

 

Severe curtailments in our lives bought about by the Covid-19 lockdown produced an endless order and repetitiveness to my daily life that became almost monastic. Precious hours expanded, creating unfettered time to sustain focused work. But the ominous tensions and acute sadness became increasingly oppressive. My work mimiced the severe restrictions imposed upon us by retreating into small, meditative and wandering paintings on playing cards. Within such intimately scaled works I could abandon destination or judgement. These painted meditations inevitably included political & social references as the pandemic unfolded. However, although loosely chronological, Book of Hours is in no way a diary.

Looking back at the many images now – all made within the framework of Covid, I was perhaps not only exploring themes of particular interest to me, but also the meaning of identity, of being human and what ‘connectedness’ really means across time, place, culture. Although the books are now complete, interpretations will I’m sure, continue to unfold.

An in depth notated Book of Hours I & II microsite can be explored through The Art Station website link above.

*See also the use of painted playing cards in earlier work made during my Canadian UNESCO Burgess Shale residency that explored ancient evolutionary life: Stains & Guts and Hiking Log 2009.

Hand axes from Book of Hours II, 2020-21. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.
Hand axes from Book of Hours II, 2020-21. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.
Display case in Saxmundham Library presenting themes from Book of Hours I & II, 2020 - 2021
Display case in Saxmundham Library presenting themes from Book of Hours I & II, 2020 - 2021
Hour glasses from Book of Hours I, 2020. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.
Hour glasses from Book of Hours I, 2020. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.
Circling Time 2022, Candles and Cabinet from Book of Hours I & II installation
Circling Time 2022, Candles and Cabinet from Book of Hours I & II installation
Butterflies and Candles from Book of Hours I, 2020. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.
Butterflies and Candles from Book of Hours I, 2020. Mixed media on playing cards with gold leaf numerals.