Joy Monice Malnar & Frank Vodvarka, “The [Unusual] View of the Usual”

Joy Monice Malnar
Frank Vodvarka (
Chicago, IL

The [Unusual] View of the Usual
glossy paper
11″ x 7″ x 1/4″

Artist Statement

During a time when touch is in retreat, the act of holding and opening a book becomes more important, but is only the beginning of possible interactions. This is especially true of this handmade booklet, The View of the Usual, where simple manipulation alters the fundamental nature of the text. The perfectly aligned red circle sits on a bed of gold, but adjacent is a pull-tab that beckons the hand to participate. Pulling the tab separates the circle in the window revealing an isolated eye sitting on a bed of cotton, and a change in the title to The Unusual View of the Usual. The booklet can be held to focus attention on an individual assemblage and the short stories. It can then be fully unfolded to see the relationship of all of the assemblages.

The small assemblages are primarily composed of discarded objects, typical during our time which has become known as the Age of Trash. They were fortunately rescued, brought together, to form new meanings. These new creations became the “Objects of Our Lives,” expressing our belief that objects “are the tangible, sensory repositories of experience.” Photographed and set next to their story in a booklet, they take on additional meanings.

The short stories came together over time spent with the collection that increased as the pandemic stretched to years. The assemblages sat on shelves, where each day as I passed one would catch my attention. As I stopped to view them their unusual story evolved. It begins by engaging the hand to slide open the windows, and then unfolds to reveal the connections that lie within the parts of the collection, and between the artist and narrator.