Mrs Dalloway (View of the Ouse in Daylight) and Mrs Dalloway (View of the Ouse in Moonlight), (2013) each panel 50″x38″. Watercolor and book pages on paper.
This diptych was created out of the text of Virginia Woolf’s dazzling short novel, Mrs Dalloway , originally published in London in 1925. The two panels are subtitled View of the Ouse in Daylight (yellow) and View of the Ouse in Moonlight (blue), with daylight referencing Clarissa and moonlight referencing Septimus, two of the central characters/voices of the novel. Clarissa and Septimus create an axis on which the story revolves, and a counterpoint of tension around questions of sanity, personal happiness, and our ability to control the course of our own lives, even through a single day.
The flow of the novel is truly brilliant; each character woven into the narrative through stream of consciousness observations, reflecting and refracting points of view, while moving multiple characters onward, each on a path of self-definition.
The “underlayer” of each panel is a watercolor view of the River Ouse, the Sussex river in which Woolf committed suicide in 1941. The “overlayer” is created from the pages of two editions of Mrs Dalloway. Each page was cut individually into an interlocking pattern reminiscent of late 19th century wallpaper patterns of upper-class English residences, such as the one in which Clarissa would have hosted her momentous party.
Here are two details: