Sara Langworthy, “Naturans Naturata”


Units ordered over distance / components complete, nothing omitted. / Lines that go through –



Matter is everywhere the same – / aspatial, atemporal / transcendent to space, transcendent to time.



Absolute form, / uninflected / viewed without relation to or comparison with. / Always to be considered as a whole / and not as a part.



Lines that go through – / – go around: chord, radius, tangent, secant, passant. / Infinitely many things in infinitely many modes / they are one and the same.



This is the final page spread of the book. The words leading up to it are: Nevertheless, we set parts in order / polish lenses, grind glass. / The order and connection of things / is infinite.


Sara Langworthy
Iowa City, Iowa

Naturans Naturata
letterpress printed from handset Univers type; pressure prints; polymer; sewn boards binding, housed in a clamshell box.
11.5 x 16 x .25
11.5 x 8 x .5

Naturans Naturata explores order and connection, with layered prints of geometric forms, and a text assembled from Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics and geometry primers. The book depicts the chaos of endless connections, and the stillness and clarity when a connection is recognized. The book examines the ideal form v. the real, and the idea that an object can be known at the point where positive and negative spaces meet.

The project started as an exploration of simple geometric form, and then wanting to find out what would happen when the forms were layered. With this project I was strongly influenced by the writings of Baruch Spinoza, and his discussion of active Nature — Nature naturing/Naura Naturans — and passive Nature, Nature natured/Natura Naturata.

Prints repeat from page to page, flipped or inverted, printed as the inverse of the previous print. Most of the geometric images are prints as pressure prints, and this process allows for up to eight variations of every image. The drawing is intentionally imperfect, off-kilter. On some pages the imagery is minimal and connections are easily made, while on others heavily layered printing makes it more difficult to isolate any individual shapes or their relationships to one another. Throughout the book shapes are repeated but no combination is the same.

The book uses a quotation from Spinoza’s Ethics as an epigraph: In a circle there are contained infinitely many rectangles which are equal to one another. Nevertheless, none of these rectangles can be said to exist except insofar as the circle exists; nor also can the idea of any of these rectangles exist except insofar as they are comprehended in the idea of the circle.