Clampitt, Amy. Woodcuts by Margaret Sunday.
Manhattan: An Elegy, and other Poems.
Iowa City: The University of Iowa Center for the Book Arts, 1990. (AFQ2569)
No. 32 of 130. Signed by the author and the artist.
Gift of Decherd Turner in honor of the marriage of Leon Harris and Jane Wolfe, 27 September, 1996. Documentation of the gift, including the wedding invitation, is included in a pocket inside the front cover per Decherd Turner’s request.
Margaret Sunday’s woodcuts evoke the linear elements of a frenetic city with a masterful sense of life. Primary color contributes energy to the angles, curves, hooks, steps, squiggles, and dashes, and echo a walking or subway map. The large format of the book gives the artist and the printer, K.K. Merker (1932–2013), space to let the text and illustration breathe. Each woodcut is placed by a particular location, building, or activity along a sidewalk, street, railroad, or in the air and is engrossing to the viewer: just where are we in the city? The poetry of Amy Clampitt (1920– 1994) describes the activity or location in enough detail to establish location, yet both the illustrations and text suggest more.
The exhibited opening, titled “Agreeable Monsters,” is referenced in the text as what travels up and down Third Avenue. Items mentioned include a crane, a tow truck, a cement-mixer masquerading as a “tilt-a-Whirl’s paunch,” and a daily dog walker’s “bouquet on a leash.” The movement in Sunday’s woodcuts is unpredictable and refreshing, not illustrative as exact yet suggestive.
Kim Merker was the founder of the University of Iowa Center for the Book. Through the establishment of the Windhover Press as one of the first teaching fine presses at a university, Merker was a major influence in the establishment and growth of fine printing and book arts around the country.
Margaret Sunday (b. 1957) received degrees in printmaking and book arts from the University of Iowa and University of Wisconsin. She taught printmaking and bookmaking at the University of Northern Colorado for eight years. She currently lives in Colorado and devotes her time to making tapestries. From Sunday’s artist statement: “In tapestry, the possibilities for creating surfaces and edges in tension are salient, given the medium’s essential linearity, and the direct, yet fluid invitation of its uncomplicated structure.”