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April Bleakney

May 2020

April Bleakney

April Bleakney, an artist with a unique and intriguing practice, has spent approximately 20 years collecting fortunes from fortune cookies. What started as a teenage habit evolved into a significant aspect of her life, guided by her own superstitions and a self-imposed code of conduct. According to Bleakney, not saving a fortune was considered bad luck, and she believed that the fortunes wouldn't come true if not preserved. She even rescued discarded fortunes from others, incorporating them into her extensive collection.

This behavior, seemingly rooted in a quest for knowledge or hidden life insights, led Bleakney to delve into the history of fortune cookies. The results of her research are documented in handbound books displayed for public viewing. However, the focal point of her exhibition lies in the screen prints of enlarged actual fortunes that adorn the gallery walls.

Displayed in a meticulous grid pattern, these fortunes carry messages such as "Curiosity is life," "Nothing is impossible to a willing heart, Lucky numbers 1, 24, 26, 28, 32, 38," or "Writing is thinking on paper." The screen prints, created with white ink on red and black paper, transcend the ephemeral nature of post-meal fortune cookies, becoming solitary windows into contemplation and self-reflection.

April Bleakney's exhibition also includes screen-printed book art, presented in collaboration with Rebekah Wilhelm, MAPC, and the University of Akron. As part of her community engagement component, Bleakney offers a hands-on screen printing demonstration and an overview of the bookmaking process. Through her unique artistic practice, Bleakney invites viewers to explore the intersection of superstition, contemplation, and the everyday experiences encapsulated within fortune cookies.

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