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Steven Sellars

Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

L'ennui n'est plus mon amour

L'ennui n'est plus mon amour.
30" x 40."

In the beginning of the 1990s I was working with combining images. They were mostly drawings and some photographs. The photographs had not been entirely successful and I was looking for another source of inspiration. I had known Max Yela for some time and the idea of going to the Golda Meir Library had come up in conversation a few times. Max had come to my house and looked at some of the drawings and was familiar with the work I had been doing.

My first experiences with the library were a revelation. I had expected to find some useful material, but what I found was something other than images. Artists, especially photographers, search the world over to find locations to photograph that most people may never see. In the library there were books that were exactly that experience: books with wonderful texts and images that most people might never see; images that only a handful of people would ever encounter, or that may not have been seen for decades, maybe centuries. That feeling, the feeling of true discovery was there in those books, in that library. I find it deeply moving every time I pick up one of those books. You open the pages, unfold the illustrations, and there it is.

L'ennui n'est plus mon amour II

L'ennui n'est plus mon amour II.
30" x 40."

I wanted my work to have as much of that feeling as I could get into it: the multi-layered, folded, aged, delicate, intimate quality of that experience; the feeling of an intimate conversation with an old friend that only the two of you can share--you tell your darkest and most joyful stories to each other.

In the course of making these images, I had experienced the birth of a daughter and the death of a brother. Those were the secrets and emotions that I had to discuss with the books, and it became a very cathartic relationship.