Naomi Ribner: Ghost Town Artifacts: The Keys

  • ©1999, Naomi Ribner



    Ghost Town Artifacts: The Keys


Creation Year:



    Inkjet print, collographs, charcoal, pastel constructed in a cherry wood box with hinged lid and padlock


    17 inches x 14 inches x 4 inches


Artist Statement:

    Once our bodies are no longer here, we leave in our wake a trail of artifacts and places that we have shaped, constructed, designed. I am particularly interested in the power of places and artifacts to tell the stories of people who may have passed through. I am not documenting real people; rather I am intrigued by the suggestions triggered by the artifacts I have found and the places I have visited … an invitation to the imagination to fill in the missing pieces. Although the series was initially inspired by my travel through ghost town ruins, my current “research” takes place in basements and attics, where I perform “archaeological digs.”

    These works also explore memory and the passage of time. Peeling wallpaper, which appears throughout, is a metaphor for digging back through layers of time and memory. The peeling wallpaper in these images reveals an underlying layer of newspaper, typically used for insulation 100 years ago, the headlines of last century still readable. My working process also bears reference to the peeling wallpaper – the collographs layered underneath the digital prints emulate time-beaten walls.

    In order to achieve a built-up surface in my digital work, I mix the illusory textures of the digital inkjet prints with the tactile qualities of printmaking, drawing, and collage. Initially, I use Photoshop to rework, collage, and transform my photographs, drawings, paintings, and prints. The digital image is printed on top of a heavily embossed collograph print or collage of torn paper. This process is sometimes followed by further overprinting with additional digital print processes, i.e. digital lithographs or digital serigraphs. The final layer is created with direct drawing – pastel, charcoal, and graphite. I enjoy the mixing of new and old processes, for the physical and conceptual qualities of old and new, future and past.

    The “Ghost Town Artifacts” series is constructed in layers within the 3D space of a deep wooden box with hinged glass lid and padlock. In these works the artifacts are preserved, perhaps along with the memories they evoke.