Tenderly



IS


Alex Kostiw’s self-publishing practice, exploring the boundaries of language, the hidden parts and possibilities of the self, and perceptions of reality. Rooted in graphic design, printmaking, and literary criticism, these works deal in poetic, iterative, and adapted text and image, visual structures of comics, and conceptually driven forms.

RECEIVES


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RELEASES


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Enchiridion

36 pages, saddle-stitch binding and accordion fold, risograph and xerox, 5 x 10.25 inches


A multifaceted exploration of the language of worship, the mythologizing effect of fame, and the trickster-god powers of Cate Blanchett. In four parts—lexicon, cosmogenesis, epiphany, and artifacts—its amalgam of manipulated and original imagery, tropes related to divinity, and motifs repeating across multiple narratives imagines Blanchett as a figure between reality and infinite possibility.







book/mark 1: A Name

12 pages, saddle-stitch binding, risograph printed, 2 x 7 inches


First in an on-going series of bookmark-shaped books, each on seemingly aimless, but unshakeable, thoughts. A Name is a brief, personal reflection on what it might mean to make a person. With images that allude to Greek mythology, Penelope, “the name without a girl,” stands in for a latent wish to have a daughter.














book/mark 2: Conducere

12 pages, saddle-stitch binding, risograph printed, 2 x 7 inches


Second in the series, Conducere is a spell, cast on me by a stick I saw on the ground. I’ve never been able to forget it.

And somewhere, a witch wanders, wandless.







The Word Sm*t

40 pages, staple-bound, xerox, 4.25 x 5.5 inches


“Eroticism is, above all else, exclusively human: it is sexuality socialized and transfigured by the imagination and the will of human beings.

In every erotic encounter there is an invisible and ever-active participant: imagination, desire.
Octavio Paz

A list of innocuous descriptions of Google search results for kinky images and of top Tumblr posts after the platform’s ban on adult content is imposed on a grid sparsely populated with vague fleshy drawings.



















Endless Distances

28 pages, staple-bound, 1st edition offset, 2nd edition risograph, with offset cover, 4.25 x 2 inches


“Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
Robert Hass

Three women in different worlds tell themselves stories about the ones they love. Is it a futile practice in the face of obstacles between them and love? The book’s panoramic shape frames distances physical, emotional, and temporal.







Between Us

12 pages, staple-bound, xerox, 4.5 x 6.5 inches


When two share a vision, how do they know they see the same thing? A strange occurrence will pull a couple closer together, or break them apart.

A version of this story appeared in the anthology Linequality.













Are You Even Listening?

20 pages, accordion fold, risograph printed, 2.75 x 3.25 inches


One asks the question, and we spiral into the other’s ear in search of an answer.












12 pages, reverse French fold in cover, offset with risograph cover, 3.25 x 6 inches


A woman’s grief spills into her sense of self and way of life.  Legible backwards and forwards, remembering and forgetting her grief are enacted by the direction of reading. The cycle transforms her again and again. 











Butter Dust

16 pages, stab-stitch binding, offset on vellum, 3.5 x 4.25 inches


Dust floats in the rectangle of light falling through a window. Fifteen daydreams occur, shifting between abstraction, metaphor, and sensation.











Sigils of Trouble Sleeping

10 pages, one sheet folded, risograph, 2.75 x 5.25 inches


A list of troubles with sleep is paired with images of bed linens. These were the basis for sigil designs inscribed on the interior side.

Sigils are used in spell casting and are symbols of intention. These sigils are meant to ward off each source of trouble, paralleling the transitional natures of magic and sleep.













[Sappho]

28 pages, saddle-stitch binding, risograph, 5.25 x 8 inches, edition of 36


An essay comic about reading Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho If not, winter and the visual presence of its lost fragments. Drawings translate spreads from Carson, with matching page numbers.








BOX Actaeon

Paper object, risograph


In Greek mythology, Actaeon was a noble hunter with a pack of loyal dogs. After hunting with friends, he wandered out alone and came across Diana, goddess of the hunt, bathing in a pool. Furious at being spied on, she transformed him into a stag. Fleeing back to his friends, but unable to speak, Actaeon ends up torn apart by his own dogs.

Nested boxes house the myth. Readers piece together the story by turning the inner box while viewing images through successive openings. The structure follows the notion of a being trapped in a different body. The images layer and segment the story, aligning reality and magic to shift appearances.





















Inventory : Recollection

Saddle-stitch binding in hard case, accordion fold, laserjet, edition of 1


This two-part artist’s book documents a man’s life through his possessions. A folded list provides brief descriptions of items in his home and their history. A single-signature pamphlet shows unlabeled rubbings.

Collapsing the volume and value of possessions, the book interrogates the significance of legacy and the marks a life makes on places, people, and things.















Chatter

10, coptic binding, woodcut relief, 16 x 10 inches, edition of 1


A gatefold book collecting ten woodcut prints in which “chatter,” or texture. In turning the pages, various characters are placed in dialogue with each other. Conversations between them are composed and recomposed.






Books & works on paper

FUTURE


CAKE 2021

PAST


The Chicago Art Book Fair, The Independent Artist Book Fair, LA Art Book Fair (virtual), The St. Louis Small Press Expo, The Chicago Design Museum, The Annex at Spudnik Press, Autoptic, CAKE, CALA, DiNK, MICE, TCAF, Zineland Terrace

COLLECTIONS


The Joan Flasch Artist’s Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Zine Collection at the University of Chicago Library, The Zine and Comics Collection at the MassArt Library, The Decker Library at MICA, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Pratt Institute Artist’s Books Collection, RISD Artist’s Books Collection, The Haas Arts Library Special Collections at Yale University, The Library of Congress