Randy Lee Cutler Explores Link Between Intuition and Creativity in New Zine

1 Invisible Forces

From the cover of Randy Lee Cutler’s new Invisible Forces zine. (Image courtesy Randy Lee Cutler)

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By Perrin Grauer

Posted on February 23, 2023 | Updated February 23, 2023, 8:53am

Titled Invisible Forces, the zine will be accompanied by a Mar. 2 public conversation at ECU between Randy, Mimi Gellman and Mimi Young.

A new zine from artist and ECU faculty member Randy Lee Cutler explores the topic of intuition and its links to creativity.

The slim, Risograph-printed volume titled Invisible Forces includes an essay and several new collage works by Randy.

“When I’m working on a project, I am channeling something,” Randy tells me in February. “With these collages, I’m channeling the idea of invisible forces through the frameworks of both physics and intuition. I wonder about the many ways intuition has been denigrated in western culture as being without value or untrue.”

Embracing intuition opens new and emergent ways of seeing, she says. And not only for creative practitioners.

“We are all antennae. We’re always picking up signals,” Randy continues. “Especially as artists and designers, whether through subject matter or sensation.”

Randy’s longstanding interest in Surrealism, about which she wrote her doctoral thesis, partly informs this perspective. And the formal practice of collage is an ideal mechanism for exploring such notions.

2 Third Eye

From Randy Lee Cutler’s new Invisible Forces zine. (Image courtesy Randy Lee Cutler)

Using Risograph printing at the university’s COMD Lab to produce ‘Invisible Forces’ added an element of technological translation. Colours changed as the collages went from analogue to digital and then to Risographs. Details faded into the background or “vibrated differently” bringing them into greater focus. For Randy, these accidental evolutions added to the work’s appeal.

“I’m interested in putting things together that don’t belong and seeing what happens,” she says. “There’s something about collage that allows for these chance meetings. That is, it’s all about intuition and serendipity. So much of that is often dismissed because it isn’t rational or we don't have a vocabulary to receive it. So, let’s see what surfaces.”

These themes have animated a number of Randy’s past projects including the Leaning Out of Windows research project with ECU Associate professor Ingrid Koenig, and her 2021 exhibition and 2022 artist’s book, both titled On the Other Hand.

Randy notes these same themes have increasingly come to inform her practice as an educator. As a professor in the Audain Faculty of Art and an associate dean for ECU’s MFA program, Randy says she encourages students to uncover their unique understanding of intuition.

“Part of what we teach our students is critical engagement, but also how listening, noticing and observing are essential to one’s practice. In some ways, it’s about quieting the mind and not privileging language,” she says. “So many of the challenges we face result from not paying attention to what our bodies are telling us. Or refusing to acknowledge there might be other ways of knowing beyond reason.”

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From Randy Lee Cutler’s new Invisible Forces zine. (Image courtesy Randy Lee Cutler)

But intuition is not just about expanding personal horizons. For an artist, it’s also a strategy to make space for the viewer. Randy felt this possibility keenly as she worked on the collages for the Invisible Forces zine.

“I’m interested in how to bring the viewer in,” she says. “And how to leave spaciousness in the work so the viewer can enter into it. That’s partly about knowing when a composition is finished. It’s also about giving the viewer enough elements so they’re intrigued, but not so many that it becomes literal and they’re supposed to get it. It’s not something to get. It’s about having a perceptual and intuitive encounter.”

Randy will take up these ideas and more in a public conversation at ECU called Beyond Ordinary Sight. Joining Randy will be artist and ECU faculty member Mimi Gellman and animist spirit medium and Ceremonie founder Mimi Young (BDes 2003). Both engage deeply with intuition as part of their practices. Join them for their conversation in Room B2160 at 6pm on March 2.

‘Invisible Forces’ was supported by a SHRCC Internal grant. A limited run of the zine is available for purchase at READ Books at Emily Carr. Visit Randy’s website to learn more about her practice.


Visit ECU online to learn more about studying in the Critical + Cultural Studies program and MFA program at Emily Carr.

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