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Felicia Rice and Moving Parts Press

BIOGRAPHY

Felicia Rice is a native Californian rarely found far from the coast. She was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area art world of the ’50s and ’60s. Founding faculty of the Mendocino Art Center, her parents became her first and most important teachers. At nineteen Felicia discovered her life’s work, her vocation: the art of the book. 

In 1974 she moved to Santa Cruz to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz and study typography and letterpress printing under designer-printer Jack Stauffacher at Cowell College. During that time, she had the opportunity to work with William Everson, poet-printer in the Lime Kiln Press at the McHenry Library on his renowned book, Granite & Cypress, and with Sherwood Grover, pressman for thirty years at the preeminent fine press, Grabhorn Press in San Francisco. In 1981 she inherited Sherwood’s press and type library.

Rice founded Moving Parts Press in Santa Cruz in 1977 where she entertained clients and authors, artists, and students for over a decade before moving the press to the mountains of Bonny Doon. The Moving Parts Press logo depicts a multi-armed freak from a pirated edition of the Nuremburg Chronicle printed in Augsburg in 1497. The logo also evokes Kali, the Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy. Under the Moving Parts Press imprint, and occasionally the subsidiary Mutant Drone Press, she has created and published hundreds of books, broadsides, prints and ephemera. These editions of new literature, works in translation, and contemporary art explore the relationship of word and image, typography and the visual arts, the fine arts and popular culture, political criticism and social impact.

With one foot firmly planted in the 19th century and the other in the 21st, Rice employs traditional typography and bookmaking methods together with digital technology to bring the flexibility of screen-based design to the texture and history of the letterpress-printed page. Her collaborations with visual and performing artists, writers, and philosophers result in structures that explore the book as a performance of the text.

The Literatura Chicana/Latina Series and Livres d'Artiste Series are two areas of inquiry that have challenged and fed the editorial and artistic direction of the press for more than twenty-five years. The Literatura Chicana/Latina Series of contemporary Chicano/Latino artists and writers explores the intersection of cultures, disciplines, and book structures in both limited and trade editions. Each book is the result of a close collaboration with visual artists, performing and sound artists, and writers that produce book structures in which word and image meet and merge. Notable among these works is the Codex Espangliensis, a book that chronicles and confronts the realities and surrealities of border culture. Having garnered international attention, the trade edition of the book has remained in print continuously since 1998. Her most recent artists’ book, DOC/UNDOC Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática, published in 2014, builds on this success with the addition of Rice’s own imagery, an electronic soundscape, and experimental video. A trade edition of DOC/UNDOC presents this seven-year collaboration in its entirety and is available from City Lights Books. Cosmogonie intime/An Intimate Cosmogony, published in 2005, is a prime example of the Livres d'Artiste Series. Here five long poems presented in the original French and in English are at once intimate and universal, and offer insight into a poetic journey that illuminates our common ground. The French livres-d'artiste, early 20th century limited editions integrating visual and poetic text, are among the crowning achievements of the twentieth-century book. This series of publications interprets the original French livres d'artiste for present-day audiences. A catalogue of the high points of her work can be found at her website, www.movingpartspress.com.

Work from the Press has been included in countless exhibitions and collections both nationally and internationally, from the AIGA Annual Book Shows in New York and Frankfurt to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Moving Parts Press has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a Rydell Fellowship Award, a Stiftung Buchkunst Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt Ehrendiplom, and grants from the NEA, CAC and the French Ministry of Culture.

Rice designed and printed work on commission for over twenty years and taught book arts at UCSC for fourteen years before becoming an administrator for UCSC Extension’s Graphic Design Program and later UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program. She retired from the university in 2017 and is back in the shop full time.

ARTIST'S WORK

CODEX ESPANGLIENSIS, 1998

Cosmogonie in time and Five Hymns to Pain

De amor oscuro/Of Dark Love


Cosmogonie intime


Tallos de luna


DOC/UNDOC 2014


DOC/UNDOC trade edition 2018


Early publications


40th anniversary show:
Perseverance Furthers: Moving Parts Press 1987-2017

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