I approached my residency at Dieu Donné with two goals: first to make a significant jump in scale; and second, to make paper tailored for use with a customized typewriter I have recently built. This new machine has an over-scale carriage which will allow me to use paper up to three feet in width. The scale of my drawings had primarily been determined by the standard width of a Smith Corona typewriter. During experimentation in the early stages of my residency, I arrived at a 40 x 60 inch scale, which I quickly adapted to. The forms and images were taken from my visual language, however my mode of manufacture shifted significantly from the mechanical to the physical. I have been committed to the mechanical gesture of the typewriter since 1993, but found using my body more directly to make the work freeing in introducing new possibilities.
I also intended to make the paper as thin as possible, which has not been the nature of the materials at such a large scale. Over time I have also been interested in working with a paper that is second to the marks that it carries; I am now working with large-scale paper that was produced at the mill for my customized machine. The experience of working at Dieu Donné has helped me to do some fundamental problem-solving, and has opened up the possibilities of my drawing practice significantly. The expanded scale was important to the form and content of my work and ideas as I move forward to produce a body of large-scale typewriter drawings.
– Allyson Strafella, November 2008
Allyson Strafella (b. 1969) lives and works in New York. She received her MA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.