MinXus Mail Bag: New Asemics by Jan Hodgman (Anacortes, Washington, USA)

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Mail art by Jan Hodgman (Anacortes, Washington, USA)

We are thrilled to share work recently received from Jan Hodgman. She has a natural interest in and talent for asemics, and we are glad to be able to document the evolution of her work. This piece has – in our estimation – some extraordinary layering that yields upon examination bits of text, stamps and asemically suggestive shapes produced by chance. While very textual, the color is deeply expressive as well, providing a context for some very interesting symbols.

Composition involved a collage method, and the raised contours add a haptic quality. Jan Hodgman’s work here shares many elements in common with vispo being produced in the USA today, especially from the great centers in the Midwest that have and still continue to produce important innovations. (Hodgman’s work is technically an asemic-vispo hybrid in the eyes of a purist.)

Hodgman makes the same excellent use of layering and distortion that we find in the work of Matthew Stolte in Madison, Wisconsin. However, whereas Stolte and other key figures such as David Baptiste-Chirot (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA) strive to capture the social and industrial decay they see in their environments with disruption and discord, Jan Hodgman’s work – to us anyway – is meditative, calm, subtle and even harmonious, given that what was known as “modernity” in the 20th century is still a primary mode in her work. This essential difference with many of her (mostly male) contemporaries can be explained by the fact that she has immersed herself in Zen Buddhist studies and is a Soto Zen Priest. Her spirituality has likely found its way into her asemics with very interesting results.

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Many thanks to Jan Hodgman for the mail-art and for her involvement in asemics and the asemic writing group at the IUOMA.



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