couldn’t find it either 2018
A scavenger hunt through an abstract comic; you can easily get lost in this colorful, double-sided circular drawing, which includes a short text. Folded drawing / book, printed on both sides, pigment print and ink. 11×8 inches closed / extends to 64 inches, printed on both sides, Edition of 12. $400    

Phone with no number – keeps ringing  2018
Phone with no number keeps ringing is series of collapsible frames that open like windows on abstract interiors suggesting wallpaper, furniture and figures, both accompanying and concealing the ringing of the phone. Pigment print and ink, folded drawing / book, 10.5 x 4.25 inches folded, edition of 12. $400



An abstract fairy tale populated with suggestions of creatures and maps “whose shapes are interchangeable. In the spaces between are indications of asemic writing” – writing that has no semantic value. This piece is meant to be seen all at once rather than page by page. It is essentially a portable drawing, hard covers, ink & acrylic, 11.14 x 7.75 inches, extends to 60 inches, unique. $750


Fuel Island, 2014
Accordion book of drawings and collages digitally printed in black on Japanese Niyodo paper. The drawings originated on architectural plans for an industrial site which included several fuel islands, soft covers, red reading edge, 9.5 x 6.75 inches (extends to 143 inches) edition of 6. $400


UNROLL, 2014
UNROLL is like a reel of film being played out over ten pages. Above the film are asemic notations in red and black ink, repurposed cardboard book, black printing ink plus red ink, 5.25 x 5.25, 10 pages, unique. $450
appel -unroll  


Is the Story I Heard the One That You told?, 2013  

Double-sided accordion book, digital prints on binder’s board, ink, 8 x 75 inches, edition of 3. $600


Wreckollections, 2012
black and white; laser printed, hand-sanded pages with original ink brush work on the reverse, 3.75 x 8.75 inches, number 3 from an edition of 5. $600



Math/ Is There a Problem?, 2010
16 page digitally printed accordion book depicting mangled math problems based on a 1903 textbook, 8 x 5.25 inches, edition of 24. $350


Letters from Coney, 2011
Accordion book, digitally printed photographs of letters in Coney Island hand-painted signs, 8 x 5.25 inches closed. 8 x 70 inches unfolded, edition of 20, $400


Arrived…and left, 2009
Digitally printed accordion book with binder’s board covers.
Content: a series of sequential/ comics drawings in blue and light yellow, 9 x 6 inches closed, 9 x 55 inches open, number 2 from an edition of 25. $250


Say When, 2010
Accordion book with red covers, 10 x 7 inches, archival digital prints, number 4 from an edition of 24. $400



Court Session, 2010
Accordion book of digital prints with black foam-core and tape covers, 8.5 x 5.75 inches, number 3 from an edition of 24. $350.



Untranslated, 2011
Digitally printed accordion book, an abstract comic with asemic writing, 8.5 x 90 inches unfolded, edition of 20, $350



as red is read, 2014
An abstract comic in red and black with oversized text that uses red and read in each sentence.
Book with Japanese binding consisting of digital prints with acrylic and graphite, 8.5 x 7 inches, 24 pages, edition of 20. $300


Until Dawn, 2013
9 x 55 inches, from an edition of 4. $350


blue / blew, 2014
An abstract comic with several pages of asemic writing loosely tethered to the homonyms blue and blew with fragments of both definitions strewn throughout. Book with Japanese binding consisting of digital prints with acrylic and graphite, 8.5 x 7 inches, 22 pages. edition of 24. $300


Where In, 2011
A series of non-sequential events unfold like an abstract comic. If you look to see what’s there without trying to make anything of it, the drawings speak for themselves in your own language. 9 x 6 inches, 48 pages, full color, hard-bound, edition of 100. $75  


“And Yet…”
And Yet… is a book of visual fiction, a novella with asemic writing. Plenty happens and leaves an impression of its happening – but not in familiar language. What does it mean to ‘read’ a drawing? This series of compositions suggests a narrative for each reader to develop. 56 pages, 9 x 6 inches, hardcover with dust-jacket, black and white. Edition of 100. $60  


Through in/ Through out, 2013
Double-sided accordion book, digital prints on binder’s board, ink, 9.5 x 75 inches. edition of 3. $600


Speaking of Water
Digitally printed accordion book addresses a range of water issues from drought to ice and flood through visual suggestions. The panels alternate with images of waves reminiscent of woodblock prints. 8 X 5.5 inches (folded), 18 pages, hardcover, edition of 20. $350



Limited Access

I have an accomplice: the sun. I use it as a pencil to trace the line between visible and not visible, stark black and white. These construction landscapes are simplified, but nothing has been subtracted. Rather, all tonalities have been pushed into a white or black zone. The resulting space is simultaneously implied and obscured; one has to search to see it. Searching is active participation.

I am especially fascinated by the sculptural aspects of buildings on their way up or down, that stage when the light still passes through without being caught. Anthropomorphic configurations of machinery and stacks of materials turn construction sites into a vast playpens.

The focus of my photography is temporarily visible incidents – from momentary instances of light, to construction sites, pavement anomalies, configurations of shadows and of course graffiti. Everything we perceive is constantly changing, continually in flux, every atom of it, every glimpse is a momentary reading of presences. I use photography as a way of watching and participating in, and documenting, aspects of change.


A sketchbook of graphite rubbings of leaves. I made these this summer, not for the sake of cataloguing perfect specimens, nor for identification purposes. I made them for the pleasure of the gesture of rubbing graphite on paper and seeing the forms emerge. The process, though fairly mechanical, takes a loose, sustained form of concentration not unlike meditation.

While searching for candidates for these pages, I developed an intimate relationship to leaves, both to their perfect forms and to particular afflictions. When isolated, many exude personality, others offer the dignity of geometry.

This process, as well as many other types of ritualistic mark-making that use repeatable forms, rhythmic gestures and so forth, requires little skill and yet can satisfy the common desire to put pencil to paper and make something happen.

Shadow Poems, an anthology

These graphite bars trace the lines of poems by a number of different authors. The poems aren’t censored, they’re shadowed. They slip though the copyright barriers and also slip though the mind. Yet they still occupy space. The space surrounding poems continues to inspire me, even after poems fade.

Stolen Letters

This is an alphabet book of letters scanned from books, each accompanied by its copyright information. Enlarging them, I found anomalies. Can the copyright owners identify their letters in a line up? If a thing cannot be recognized by its owner, can it be stolen?

Intersections (a travelogue)

“Intersections, a travelogue” is a non-sequential abstract comic. You move from here to there. A place, here or there, can be geographic – or visual, or verbal, or psychological… Movement is the key. A guidebook gives you confidence that you know where you are and what you are seeing. A travelogue is not a guidebook, but that doesn’t make it useless.

Arrived…and left.

This accordion book is an “abstract comic” using primitive, suggestive drawings inspired by a weekend in the country. I am a city person accustomed to static walls and hard pavement. In the country, however, things are soft and in motion. Great leafy bundles wiggle and twitch, insects zip, flit and bite, bats zoom back and forth at dusk, small animals creep about just out of sight. Frankly, it’s unnerving. It’s easy to project spirits and unlikely creatures into a landscape animated by unseen forces like air. These drawings document that experience. I drew them on a tablet connected to a computer and subsequently added color.

“Abstract comic” is a term used most notably by Andrei Molotiu as the title for his recent book: Abstract Comics, The Anthology: 1967-2009. Abstract sequential form is being newly examined by both artists and cartoonists and the issues are provocative. How does an abstract comic work? How does one read it? It’s a rich subject to be exploring at this time.


In my early twenties I studied poetry writing/ versification at the New School which opened my senses to verbal language. In my mid-twenties I investigated painting and drawing at the New York Studio School, becoming familiar with the language of visuals. For several years I made paintings, but I moved often and my paintings turned into baggage. Around that time I was reading Nouveau Roman in translation. Translated French, cleansed of idioms and familiar cadence, is a beautiful version of English. I decided to write. The scale of the book form, small on the outside, infinite on the inside, was very appealing. When I heard Stein’s Four Saints in Three Acts I wanted to write an abstract novel. Two of my works were published by Fiction Collective 2, and portions of a third appeared in Fiction International and Black Ice. I made a xerox edition of the book – folded paper, staples, tape binding. This led to other xerox books using words and images. I was also working a lot with negatives in the darkroom at that time – experimenting with chemicals, making photograms, making acetate negatives on the computer and printing them on silver gelatin paper. As digital technology advanced, I was swept along with it, grinning from ear to ear as I recognized suddenly that I could make anything – animation, video, music, prints and of course books.

The infinite, instantaneous possibilities in a digital drawing led me to print side-by-side variations. As dialogues between these duos complexified I added more segments. These were my early accordion books. Gradually print-on-demand services became available, and I launched a series of black and white books using photographs and drawings.

Issues of language, both visual and verbal, are and have been the foundation of my practice. And in the broad, unstable area between language and not-language there is a lot to explore.

Rosaire Appel Website