This month I travelled to the Bay Area and saw two inspirational shows – J.M.W Turner at San Francisco’s DeYoung museum and an exhibit of Richard Diebenkorn’s sketchbooks at the Stanford University’s Cantor Art Center. From Turner to Diebenkorn, I covered a span of 131 years in a 45 minute car ride. However, some shared aspects of their work could link them as contemporaries.
Have you ever wondered who buys artist’s books? Most major universities, museums and public libraries have special collection librarians who purchase artists books and other rare books for their holdings. Usually you can make an appointment to see the work but the institutions also draw inspiration from their collection to curate exhibitions. My artist’s book Aggregate Memory, a 2005 collaboration with artist Macy Chadwick is included in the exhibition “Binding Desire: unfolding artists book” January 25 – March 30, 2014, at Otis Collage of Art and Design.
Binding Desire: Unfolding Artists Books is a group exhibition featuring approximately 120 works from OTIS Millard Sheets Library’s Special Collection of 2,100 artists books dating from the 1960s to the present. The Otis Artists‘ Book Collection is one of the largest in Southern California. It houses a wide range of works representing every genre of artists‘ books by such luminaries as Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, and Ed Ruscha, as well as significant works from major centers of production like Beau Geste Press, Paradise Press, Printed Matter, Red Fox Press, and Woman‘s Studio Workshop.
This Fall I had work in “EcoEditions: An International Exhibition of Contemporary Artist Books” at the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon. I am happy to announce that I was awarded the Library Purchase Prize for my book Submerged. My piece will be purchased by the gallery and donated to the Artists’ Book Collection at the University of Oregon Architecture and Allied Arts Library.
In 1957 the Columbia river was dammed at Celilo Falls, inundating ten thousand years of native culture and a thriving river ecosystem. Submerged depicts this event with poignant text and hand-painted imagery by the artist.
The physical structure of the book captures both the flow and stasis of Celilo Falls: the opening movement of the book mirrors cascading water and the static pages reference a dam wall. In combination, these elements illustrate the complex social and ecological impact dams have on individuals, communities and the environment.
Submerged is housed in a hand-made clamshell box which includes a time-line documenting the building of The Dalles Dam and flooding of Celilo Village.
I just finished an edition of a new artist’s book that I like a lot. It’s been a long while since I’ve worked in multiples. I usually create one-of a-kind pieces, but for Submerged, I decided to push myself and make more than one copy. Three to be exact – a very small, hand-painted, variable edition. There is something so beautiful and satisfying in creating multiples of something. A clean stack of cut boards, three folded spines, identical clamshell boxes and fifty-four hand-painted pages.
I love making artist’s books! I enjoy searching for all the different materials I get to incorporate into one project. Mouldmade paper from Germany, special-order cloth from New York and colorful ribbons. I went to three different stores, including a Ribbonry to find exactly the right shade of green ribbon. Figuring out how I’m going to combine all these different materials is totally engaging. And that’s why I love book arts – I lose myself in the details.
Cloudberries and Other Fruits
FEAST, a book art’s exhibition at 23 Sandy Gallery is only up for one more week. But don’t worry, if you miss it you can check out the online catalog here. (P.S. I’m excited to announce that my piece, Cloudberries and Other Fruits sold to the Knight Library at the University of Oregon).