Marja-Leena Rathje
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Exhibition Photo & Statement


Installation of Silent Messengers: Hoodoos I to V (left to right)

Artist's Exhibition Statement

For some years now, my work has been informed by and engaged with the contrasts and tension between connections in the ancient marks made by early humans, (particularly in the areas of my ethnic roots in northern Europe), in Nature's own mark-making and shape-making (such as the Hoodoos), and in my own use, as a modern human, of new technologies in image making.

The "Silent Messengers" series of prints are the most recent works, the culmination of experiments and research into combining traditional and digital printmaking techniques on paper and mylar as evidenced in the "Nexus" prints also shown here. I have desired to exploit the effect of layering transparent materials to embody a concept of time and continuity of humans and nature.

Referencing ancient rock art in a modern way is my way of acknowledging this long thread of connection with those humans and artists of long ago.

Much of my research is by way of the internet and books, virtual travel in the comfort of my chair. One of many inspiring researchers for me has been Pekka Kivikäs, a keen documenter and author of books on Finnish rock art aimed at readers interested in the ancient culture of Finno-Ugric regions. Kivikäs considers rock art "the silent message of man from behind the thousands of years". Recently rereading about him and his work, I was struck by that phrase, considering that my current print series is titled "Silent Messengers".

Silent Messengers
Studio Art Gallery at Capilano College
North Vancouver, BC, Canada
November 16th - December 7th, 2005

Note: In the archives under PrintWorks - Silent Messengers, you may view closer photos of Silent Messengers: Hoodoos I, Silent Messengers: Hoodoos II and Silent Messengers: Hoodoos III. Proper photos of Hoodoos IV and V will be posted later when I've taken slides of all the latest new work.


Such wonderful works. Really inspiring.

The word "hoodoo" was not familiar to me so I googled it. As well as the geological term there is also another meaning to do with harnessing supernatural forces which I thought very appropriate.

Of course you knew that, probably. Sorry, its unfamiliarity with US English... I found this very exciting!

Thanks, qB !! That is gratifying to hear. You found some good links there, which I think I also used in a couple of posts on the subject - have a look at badlands and hoodoos.

It all looks wonderful, Marja-Leena, and how nice to see you there too, looking so very happy!

I didn't think people could be so meticulous in their artistic thoughts, this "Silent Messengers" sounds wonderful.

I really love the way you correlate the old and the new, it reminds me of a study I did last year on French cave art for college. After all of the theories on why the art existed and how it was made it all boiled back down to the same idea that art is a human thing.

“Art is not Christian,
Art is not Pagan,
Art is human.”

This "Silent Messengers" series sounds very human. I love that you used the series to connect us with our ancient past. The concept is beautiful; I really wish I could see it.


I love the idea of the layering, or time and continuity of humans and nature. Wonderful work!

Beth and leslee - thank you!

Brock, welcome and thanks for appreciating my artist's statement and my work! As you probably know, writing a statement is one of the most difficult jobs for many artists, certainly is for me. Trying to find the right words that aren't artspeak or obtuse, but intelligent and clear, is the challenge. I'm glad I seem to have succeeded. Brock, I'm going to check out your interesting looking blog.

Congratulations, Marja-Leena. Your show looks wonderful. Wish I could see it in person. Especially with your layering techniques -I'll bet they have much more presence in three dimensions.

Thanks Anna, it would be fun to talk about our work in person, wouldn't it!? Yes, these pieces don't translate well in the photos, and on the net, though I'm still experimenting with the camera.

The exhibition looks great, wish I could have been there. Looking forward to your photos of all the works. And yes, I would love to sit down with you and talk shop, exchange ideas, concepts and experiences of printmaking. Are you planning any trips to London/Europe?

It looks great, and so do you.

Natalie, thanks, and gee, I'd love to talk shop with you - exchange ideas and all that! One day I hope to get over there! Any chance of your coming here some day?

Anna, a curtsy of thanks to you!