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Megan Adie


Megan Adie is a book artist and professional musician originally from California. In Europe since 2010, she has received a Master’s degree in historical performance practice in Switzerland, opened her own print shop in Copenhagen, and since 2012 organized EDITION/Basel, a residency program for international artists and printmakers. Megan spent two years back in San Francisco working as the Printmaking Studio Manager and Full Time Faculty at the Academy of Art University, and returned to Scandinavia in 2018. She publishes books and prints under the imprint Aviary Press, and her work is in numerous public and private collections including the New York Public Library, Oxford (England) University Library, the Royal Danish Library, and Stanford University. Megan currently works as principal bass with Concerto Copenhagen and prints in Copenhagen, Basel, and San Francisco.


What do we keep, and what do we throw away? My work collects and examines commonplace things – things that pass invisible through our lives – in an effort to break down the barriers between us as individuals, and this world that we inhabit, through intentional and improvisatory prose, image, and form.

Many of the works shown here include collaborations and improvisations with my materials and techniques. What many would consider to be mistakes I often find central to my process: from experimenting with exposure times on a polymer plate, to using damaged copper plates, and sending paper through the letterpress to create what I've called a "print echo," I am in active collaboration with the machines I'm using, and each of the materials in turn. I find endless inspiration through these accidents of practice. 



Edition/Basel is a 12-day program for artists working in intaglio, relief, lithography and letterpress techniques at the Druckwerk Printmaking Studio in central Basel, Switzerland. The program is an opportunity for art making and for cultural exchange through a shared interest in the graphic arts. Started in 2012 by Megan Adie from the United States, and joined in 2013 by Margarit Lehmann from Switzerland, the program has hosted artists from many countries including Switzerland, the United States, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Japan, India, Cuba, Burkina Faso, Armenia, and Finland. Each session has a theme, which is chosen collaboratively and interpreted individually by the artists, with an exhibition presented at the end of the period. Exhibitions take place in one of two spaces, the Basel Paper Museum or the Kaskadenkondensator Gallery.



Audibility Audibilidad, 2017. Made with Carrie Ann Plank and Hanoi Perez. Pressure printing and screen printing on Kikura paper. 16" x 8" closed, 16" x 16" open. Edition of 50.
Three artists discuss the sound of the state of being in Havana, Cuba, in three languages, visual and written. None of these languages are translations, but rather individual investigations of the same concept. The four subjects, Buscar (to search), Emperor (to wait), Resolver (to solve problems) and Querer (to want) are common in the Cuban vernacular. The artist proofs were created as part of the Printed in Cuba residency program in April, 2017, with the American artist Carrie Ann Plank and the Cuban artist Hanoi Perez.

RECTO / VERSO, 2017. Text and image by Megan Adie, Aviary Press. Letterpress and relief printed on Thai Kozo paper. 12" x 9" closed, 12" x 18" open. Edition of 1.
RECTO / VERSO is a quiet political gesture, a statement in verse, a protest and a plea in words on paper. It connects the book format, in recto and verso, to our political system, the right and the left, using transparency and accident as metaphor.

Recollecting, 2017. Image by Megan Adie, with found text, Aviary Press. Monotype and letterpress from type, with a laser printed insert. Dimensions variable. Edition of 3.
Recollecting is a book about extinction, seen through the lens of one species: the passenger pigeon. It is thought that this bird was formerly the most numerous of any species on the planet. The last of its kind, Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. The book is housed in a box, and contained 6 folded pieces, each of which is letterpress printed with a found text describing the birds, their flight, the noise they made, and their decline. The text and monotype print exist both inside and outside the folded pieces, and are viewed through round cut-out circles.

Verso, 2016. Relief and letterpress printed from folded acetate, polymer plates and lead type. 20" x 10". Edition of 30.
The print explores the dimensions of paper, and utilizes the mistakes present in the process of creating the piece. Hand drawings of folding schemes, printed from polymer plates in various states of breaking down, rest on top of a blind debossed print made from a piece of folded acetate, each of the layers visible on the final print. There is a map, printed as a ghost (the text presenting as wrong-reading) and the words tenderly, tenderly encouraging a care for materials and cast-offs.

Ark First Edition: ALONE / Becoming the Other in Translation, 2015. Letterpress from polymer.
Made in collaboration with Copenhagen's Ark Books and Ordered by Colour, this book contains two texts, printed here for the first time: one by Paul Auster, and one by Siri Hustvedt. Structural concept, printing and binding by Aviary Press. Book is made with two spines, and functions as a closed system; it cannot fall open without removing one of the spines, and when both spines are out, the book has no and and no beginning--thus presenting a nonhierarchical structure.

Echo's, 2015. Image by Megan Adie, with text by Andreas Vermehren Holm, Nora Joung, and Megan Adie. Offset and letterpress printed, Aviary Press Editions. 11" x 14". Edition of 300.
For over a decade, I've been making and saving what I call "print echos" -- a byproduct of the printing process, created when paper is fed through the rollers of a press. With the Danish poet and translator Andreas Vermehren Holm, these castoffs were connected to Echo, who in Greek mythology was in love with Narcissus. Her love was damned by the gods, and her body was taken away, leaving her with only the ability to repeat the last words of other people's sentences. This book is an attempt to give Echo her body back. Echo's.

Debris, 2015. Text and image by Megan Adie, Aviary Press. Letterpress and collagraph printed during the EDITION/Basel residency. 8" x 5.25" closed, 24" x 34" open. Edition of 32.
Debris is a book made to explore the temporary nature of objects, and to look closely at the moment that something turns from useful to useless. Collagraph printed from cardboard mounted to a large wooden plate, with hand-set type.

RIVER, 2014. Text and image by Megan Adie, Aviary Press. Letterpress and relief printed from linoleum during the EDITION/Basel residency, with pochoir. 8.25 x 14.25" closed, 41.25 x 28.5" open. Edition of 16.
RIVER is a book about one river--its origin, fact and force--but it is also about the relationship between a river and the places it separates and joins together, and the people that recognize it as their own. 

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