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Unfurling — A 400 Foot Graphic Novel Scroll

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“Unfurling” is a graphic novel drawn on a scroll of paper by my daughter, Isabel Rucker, going on display from November 5-27, at the SOMArts gallery in San Francisco.


[Tuesday night: A weary Isabel finishes mounting the show. The scroll is in three 150 foot rolls, mounted one above the other, held in place by wood stripping and protected by Mylar plastic.]

“Unfurling” stretches over 400 feet long, is a foot high, and is drawn in black ink pen with watery washes. The comic panels vary in length (up to ten feet long) to mirror pauses, vast scenery, or thought patterns.

Most of the panels are too long to fit into the narrow column of this blog, so I’ll just post a few details clipped from the panels so you can at least have an idea of the art.

The seven-year project began in 2002, when Isabel decided to free herself from the size of regular pieces of paper, canvas or sketchpad. She was living in a warehouse full of artists near the intersection of Cesar Chavez Street and Third Street in San Francisco at the time.

She fell in love with a young man in Pinedale, Wyoming, and moved out there to live on a ranch with him—and a few years later they married. Pinedale is definitely off the grid, but filled with natural beauty.

“Every day there was something new to see,” as it says on the full-length version of the panel above. Briefly put, “Unfurling” describes Isabel’s journey from San Francisco to Wyoming.

Living in Wyoming seems to have brought her to a level of visionary peace.

The opening party for the Unfurling : This Land show is Thursday, November 5, 2009, 6 p.m.-11 p.m. at SOMArts, 934 Brannan Street, in San Francisco, CA 94103.

The show also includes new pencil drawings by cartoonist Mark Bode for the graphic novel Cobalt 60, and Mike Dingle’s I See the Future, a massive collage work consisting of found objects combined into the general shape of the United States. This opening should draw an interesting crowd.

Directions: SOMArts is near Eighth Street and Brannan, near Trader Joe’s, not far from the the Sixth Street exit from Route 80. Here’s a link to a map.

I hope to see some of you there!

Added November 8…

Here’s a pasted-together and way-too-small photo of the left end of Unfurling as it’s hung. You read the whole top row, then the next row, and then the third row. Awesome. Mabye later we’ll post a big image of the whole thing. Or make it into a book…

This is Isabel at the opening, in the center, with some friends and viewers, standing in front of some of Marc Bode’s comic art.

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10 Responses to “Unfurling — A 400 Foot Graphic Novel Scroll”

  1. Anita Says:

    I Beg Your Pardon!!

    Pinedale is so not off the grid!

    I will grant you the Moore Ranch, that is unquestionably off the grid. And, for nearly everyone reading this The Moore Ranch is 40-50 miles from Pinedale, the last 10 miles + on increasing, say we say, challenging dirt road.

    However I could argue that in some respects Pinedale is more civilized than any of our communities here in the South Bay. Have you visited the Sublette County Library or the new recreation center on any of your recent visits, Rudy?

    The newest improvement to the library is a coffee bar…try to find a library that civilized out here.

    I have found free public wifi at libraries all over the west but not here in the Silicon Valley area. mmmm, who is civilized?

    Can I mention those new lights that allow pedestrians to cross the busy main drag without waiting and waiting and waiting? Smack the button and the light changes in favor of the pedestrian. In seconds.

    The Pinedale supermarket, however, should be closed as a public health hazard. Disgusting, even allowing for its being 1,000 miles from the harvest in California.

    Saw my one and only UFO driving into Pinedale, not sure what That means!

    see you Thursday!

  2. Lee Zord Says:

    this show is on our short list of places to be Thursday PM….long tale art is attractive.

    uFo”? I see them all the time, bzz bzz they say flying around

    i eat them – un-identi-fied: bzz bzz is not they name-

    probably a complaint

  3. Jim Woodring Says:

    What a great idea. I wish I could see it in person.

  4. Alex Says:

    Looks wonderful. I’d would love to see the scroll as well.
    Maybe it could work well as a touch
    scrolling iPhone / iPod Touch artwork?
    I’m sure your daughter could sell some on the iTunes app store.

  5. Donald Marritz Says:

    This is lovely and touching. Of course, Isabel IS my goddaughter, the biggest honor ever bestowed on me. But I am being totally objective here. This piece gives new meaning to the “scroll” key on my keyboard. What a strange word, “scroll.” Isabel infuses it with humor and beauty and meaning.

  6. SarahBraun Says:

    I wish I was able to come down to see this in person. Give Isabel an extra hug for me?

  7. MarcL Says:

    Sorry we’re so far away! It reminds me a little bit of the panoramas of the wife-husband team, Kozy ‘n Dan:

    http://www.kozyndan.com/art/bunnies-3-chewy

  8. Rudy Says:

    Great opening night!

    Mentions of the show on Bleeding Cool
    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/11/05/thursday-feels-four-hundred-feet-long/

    And on BoingBoing
    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/03/unfurling-isabel-ruc.html

    And the LA Times
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2009/11/ruckers-scroll.html

  9. Scott Armstrong Says:

    I love it! She refused to conform to the size of a piece of paper. It looks very interesting.

    Scott

  10. MarcL Says:

    Looks like John Romero was in attendance.


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