When I was first assigned this piece I sat at my desk, slumped in my chair, and wondered how I could possibly hope to do such an astounding concept justice. Carefully liberated from colossal sheets of paper, Annie Vought brings written letters to life in a most inventive way.
Fascinated by handwriting and how that can often convey the author’s personality or a moment in history, this Oakland-based artist meticulously cuts sentence after sentence from letters to create these massive and exquisitely detailed works of art.
Some can be read word for word, and others are more about feelings and emotions. Some are neatly ordered and precise, whereas others may be so chaotic as to be nearly illegible. Of particular note is her piece “Gosh I’ve been here before,” which is my personal favorite.
Explaining her fascination with letters in an interview, she had this to say: ” I believe handwritten records are fragments of individual histories – expressions of self that very much bring forth the truth of our inner lives. In the penmanship, word choice, and spelling the author is revealed in spite of him/herself. A letter is physical confirmation of who we were at the moment it was written, or all we have left of a person or a period of time. I also think a lot about the relationship between the public and the private, or more specifically about how the private side of ourselves can be made public. I want to be respectful of people, but I recognize that I’m actively exposing them through their written communications. But in the exposure is a vulnerability we all share. I’m interested in human relationships, overall— the ones we have with ourselves and others.”