Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: ARKEO #4



archival inkjet and collagraph
81 x 61 cm.

This is the latest addition to my ongoing ARKEO series. Please visit the gallery*** to see the whole series.

For the first time I used Sintra upon which to build up the collagraph. Sintra is usually used in our print studio as an alternative material for linocuts, so I took advantage of its easy cut surface to also carve lines into it - that was fun!

P.S. Some new readers have been asking: What's a collagraph?

*** The 'gallery' is undergoing "renovation" so the link has been removed until the new one is ready. The other works in the series may be viewed by visiting the ARKEO link under Printworks. (Updated Dec.30th, 2012)

Marja-Leena | 07/10/2008 | 17 comments
themes: Arkeo, Printworks


oh! this looks like Louhi, in her owl disguise. She appears to be exhausted from her work. ....I'm sure there are lots of readings of this image, but to me, I see the old owl woman.

Hi Taina, I'm so excited by what you see here! Indeed, this is an owl/person, a mythic anthropomorphic figure that I hoped embraced many such cultural myths. The figure developed intuitively while I thought about ancient rock art images. As you may know, I've been exploring these in my work for several years, including those from the Finno-Ugric regions.

That you see the figure of Louhi from the Kalevala really excites me and adds a whole new Finnish meaning and connection for this piece that I was not consciously aware of - thank you, thank you!

For readers unfamiliar with the Finnish epic, the Kalevala, here is a quick little description of Louhi: Louhi the Hag of the North, is a shamanistic matriarch of a people rivalling those of Kalevala who at one stage pulls the sun and the moon from the sky and steals the fire away from the people of Kalevala.

Absolutely lovely!! Keep up your marvelous work!!

These are beautiful M-L

That's incredible!

LOUHI todella tulee mieleen! Olisit sopiva Kalevalan uudellenkuvittajaksi upeine kivi-taustoinesi!
LOUHI comes to mind. You would really be talented to re-illustrate Kalevala with your fantastic rock-backgrounds etc.

Joan, thank you ever so much!

Tall Girl, thanks and wonderful to see you again!

Cathy, glad you think so!

Utua2, Kiitos, siinäpä onkin mahtava ajatus! Thanks, now that's a stupendous idea!

That's the way to bury Harper, temporarily at least. Do some art. On the other hand the owl figure looks unhappy, sharing the misgivings of liberal Canada. I'm impressed. Tell me, Sintra: is it a modern-day equivalent (now with whistles and bells) of scraper board which I used to scritch at all those years ago? I liked scraper board. It flattered my lack of technique.

Marja-Leena this series is fascinating. I do keep going back to it and getting more each time. By spooky co-incidence I have been working on an owl image too, though a bird rather than the glorious woman/owl in your work. Your latest image sent me off to one of my favourite artists: Ana Maria Pacheco. Great stuff.

Barrett, I don't think politics was on my mind when I was working on this piece, but the subconscious does have its own way of working!

Sintra consists of a dense foam core with a very smooth thin plastic surface on both sides. Scraper board has a more papery surface, more like mat board I believe, though I've not used it.

Olga, thanks for your always positive observations and appreciation! That is quite a coincidence that we are both working on owls - is there something in the stars?! I'm contemplating using owl/woman again on the piece I'm now developing. Ana Maria Pacheco's work is amazing, powerful and dark. Naturally I love her drypoints! Thanks for the link, will study her work some more.

Wonderful. I too immediately saw an owl-woman. Yesterday a friend was telling me about reading The Owl Service which is based on a Welsh owl-woman myth. There's obviously something, ahem, in the air :-)

Oh, very cool! I didn't know about the owl-woman, but such an interesting archetype. Nice addition to the collection - you're tapping an interesting vein there!

Thanks, rr! The Welsh owl-woman myth is an amazing story. Now I have an urge to research for more, for example in the First Nations myths, even though I wasn't thinking of such myths when I created this. Oddly, a few days ago we saw a Welsh film though not about myths (will write about that soon). Something in the air indeed, heh.

Leslee, the owl-woman archetype is a serendipitious surprise to me too and I'm excited at this new direction.

There's something weirdly familiar to me about this bird person emerging - perhaps from the mass subconscious. Not so much the image as a whole, which is resonant enough, but the expression on his/her face. I can't get it to go away. But I don't mind so much because I guess that it is for the most part benign.

This is such an amazing and stunning image -- and so potent for me personally! I just finished the first draft of a novel that has owls at the center of it -- how fortuitous. Wonderful!

Joe, thanks for your thoughful words. I'm glad this bird person stays with you, and in a benign way, for I don't intend it to be scary.

Kate, wow, thank you, and how fortuitous indeed! Amazing these connections we find. And, another book, how exciting!