Kris Dresen's "Every Part of You Is Familiar to Me" is a collection of work in which the artist accomplishes a difficult feat: to reveal the joys and magic of everyday encounters and a rich interior monologue. Whether in single paged or short sequences, Dresen celebrates the beauty of the human body, women's bodies for certain, and the subtleties of the human condition. There is a familiarity about the situations chosen here. You have been here. In my own way I have been here on an occasion or two. As has Dresen as every inner thought of these women seem at once laid open and intimate. What elevates this book is Dresen's keen sense of observation with which she employs to evoke states of grace, desire, and sensuality with allusions to the ineffable. Dialog and narrative text are banished as they would only detract from the experience. This emphasis on the image creates the mood of being a witness, a voyeur if you like, without the unsavory component, rather than simply being a reader.
This image is one page from what may be my favorite section, Travail de Nuit.
Dresen's art style is all about the line and a love of making marks with pen and ink or pencil. Dresen surely enjoyed every moment exploring the gentle, curving lines that give her women life, how the upturn of a mouth teases the hand to touch the hip and breast. There's a desire for drawing decorative patterns and playful textures, especially with hair, either luxurious spills of curls or short spikes, downswept curves, or wavy masses that have rhythmic beat of their own. And her trees which must be both fascination and signature.
To heap on more words in reviewing this book is a disservice I think. A bit like trying to explain "blue" and only having the sky to point at. It was a serendipitous find at Prism's table at C3E2 this past March, and very much a pleasure to take part in later that night. My only regret was not having a glass of wine at hand. Find yourself a good bottle or something else enjoyable to relax with and sit back with this book.
Every part Of You Is Familiar To Me and several others are available for ordering. Please visit Kris Dresen's shop.