Daniel E. Kelm. American, 1951–
Acrylic and corn starch paste on Canson mi-tientes paper with wire edge binding housed in a box of English yew wood with vegetable-tanned goatskin lining. Produced with the assistance of Kylin Lee, D. Christopher Lenaerts, and Glenn Leonard. Courtesy of Daniel E. Kelm. Video by Kevin Derose and Jeff Derose, One Match Films.

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Religio Mathmatica

Religio Mathmatica was inspired by a toy given to Kelm by an English friend. He decided to include no words or images in the book, as he says, “to see if the body of the book could tell a story.” Using the alchemical color scheme (black = earth, white = water, yellow = air, red = fire) the unfolding of the book alternately exposes and hides differently colored surfaces, creating the potential for personal and open-ended interpretive narratives. Kelm, for example, feels that the closed red cube represents potential, or what he calls “undifferentiated energy.” When manipulated, forms can range from the “lotus flower” formation seen here (with its symbolism of the birth of the world) to the line of mountainous shapes that Kelm calls the “three guardians.”

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