Artist StatementScrabble. A game with a fixed set of parameters, 100 tiles; 225 squares. How many variations from that beginning might occur? I explore this question both visually and linguistically. Visually, I create multilayer screen prints, evoking a sense of the change of the game board as game progresses. Linguistically, I use haiku (technically, senryu) as my narrative form when compiling, exploring, and mining the permutations of the language used during that specific game. It is now my passion and my goal to push the boundary of what an artist book can be. How many ways can the book be bound? What defines a book? What defines an object? When is the book an art book? When is the art book a sculpture? When is the art book art? Each Book I Create Follows These Criteria: Book title: letters left at end of game. Subtitle: score of game Haiku (senryu): generated from each word played during the game. Title page is a haiku based on the title of the book. Paper/structure: variable. Not limited to paper nor to traditional binding.
Sanzi Kermes is a binational progeny of immigrant grandparents (Bohemia and Italy), the fourth youngest of five. At age seven, she declared that she wanted to be an artist. Her family, however, expressed consternation, and with the starving artist dialogue deeply imbued upon her, she set off for undergraduate work in geography and advertising. At 29, she enrolled in a masters program for Publication Design but soon found she preferred to study drawing and enrolled in classes at the Shuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore – a studio that holds to traditional training techniques of the Renaissance Masters.
In 1995, she left her corporate job after a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and focused her energy primarily on an art career, thus beginning a ten year service as a docent at the Baltimore Museum of Art. During this decade, Sanzi’s life took two turns – the first in 2003 when she became a young widow after her husband’s death from brain cancer; the subsequent in 2005, when she and her English partner welcomed a daughter.
Sanzi received a Masters of Contemporary Fine Art Practice from Leeds Beckett University in Leeds, UK in 2008. The Scrabble series began with an off hand comment to her academic advisor: “I have wondered what it would look like to explore the game of Scrabble. It’s a game with a finite set of conditions [a 15 x 15 square grid and 100 letters] but yet, how many permutations might occur? I’ve been documenting every game I play.” Kermes' love of language and visual arts has catapulted her work into the current oeuvre of screen prints, letterpress printing, senryu writing (a haiku format not based solely on nature). Her work as a cartographer has greatly influenced the art she creates—the screen prints are reminiscent of the Rectangular Survey System devised by the Land Ordinance of 1785.