Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: origins



detail from FRAGMENTS II

I keep thinking about my deep fascination for my own origins, of the origins of the Finno-Ugrics, and of all humans. I'm understanding more and more that this is at the very root of my fascination and passion for the traces left behind by these early people on rocks and cave walls, in their sculptures, standing stones, dolmens, pottery, jewelry and so on. And this passion naturally translates into my own art work.

Casually browsing through some of my archives, I came across this almost forgotten post from 2007 which really resonates for me at this moment, especially the above passage. Back at the printmaking studio after several months' absence, I am revisiting the last prints I finished, especially the FRAGMENTS pieces. I am gathering thoughts, ideas, feelings along with possible relevant images from my massive files as I plan new work. It is a process I need to go through, a kind of evaluation of past work and finding the connecting threads to carry forth as I move into the new.

UPDATE Sept.23rd, 2011: The Fragments category is now up under Printworks. I will add more works as they are created and completed. Thanks to Marly for the question in the comments, it has spurred me on to remind my designer daughter to help add that category at long last.


I got up at 5:30 to help my youngest study Paleolithic and Neolithic eras and pictograms and so forth... So are the "Fragments" in one of the Print Series in the menu?

Marly, how very coincidental! I wish we'd studied that when I was young. If you click on the FRAGMENTS link under the image you will see links to the other two that are part of the group so far, plus another link in the body of the text. You can also see them together in the slide show/gallery. So no, they are not yet listed under the print series - a long story but hopefully soon - there have been delays because some changes are coming.

I love the 'Fragments' as a whole piece with its mixture of simple designs and complex form and colour. It's a beautiful and very elegant piece.

I've been reading recently about the Great Forgetting - the long period through deep time that paleontologists have described to historians as an age when people lived quite happily on the planet with neither agriculture or civilization. At heart we were born from a race of nomads and foragers.. also artists.

Susan, I'm glad you like it. Your reading sounds fascinating, what book is it? I've heard something along that line and it sounds surprisingly a little related to a book I'm presently struggling with: The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton, which explores art and human evolution. I'll let you know more when I finish it.

fascinating. i love that you pick up old threads to develop new work. i think i do that too. x

There is a book by that name which I haven't read but the theory is well explained in this article. It's very much about deep ecology and the sense it makes is very compelling. I hope you enjoy it when you have some time.

Found the slideshow and enjoyed what I suppose is the beginning of a longer series...

Are these made on a very big printer? I'm sort of clueless about the size.

Interesting that you are reading Dutton. I've thought about picking up that one as well.

Marja-Leena, I do love the Fragment pieces! It is nice to know about the process of going through the old works and files, that takes time but is worth it. Good luck with your art work!

Elisa, yes, one can revisit old threads seemingly over and over again and find new things, connections and even images to pull those together into entirely new works.

Susan, thanks for the link. I've read something very similar but not using the words 'Great Forgetting'. We know now that humans have been around far longer on this earth before agriculture than since. And yes, agriculture has been and is hard on our ecology. I'm going back to read this more closely...

Marly, glad you saw the slideshow, and yes, I believe it will be a larger series as I tend to work that way. I'm presently working on two and hopefully several more will emerge. I've given the print sizes below the images in both metric and inches: 91 x 76 cm. (36 " x 26.5").

My larger than 13" digital prints are printed on a professional large wide-format printer we call 'Lucy'. We can print on up to 39" (maybe to 41", I forget) width papers that come on rolls. She is now being retired and replaced with a new one, even better with more colours like a gorgeous true red! I'll try getting a photo of that one soon.

Leena, kiitos, thank you! Yes, it does take time and I keep adding more and more photos to my image library every year.

this is what has always resonated with me, the ancient art that I seem to see in much of your work.

We really do share the same passions, don't we?

Mouse, yes, we do share the same passions for ancient art and history, and more...