Coming Unbound : Book As Sculpture – Invitational Exhibit
Curator: Jean-Marie Tarascio
|April 5||Noon – Show Opens|
|April 6||5:30 to 8 pm – Opening Reception and Art Walk|
|April 14||1:00 pm – Art Talk|
|April 29||5:00 pm – Show Closes|
Throughout its remarkable history the book has been a means to transporting ideas, messages, and thoughts. It has been an intriguing vehicle for reflection and communication, a formidable object. It has been banned, burned, collected, censored, hidden, sworn upon, quoted, treasured, adorned, discarded, chained, praised, and threatened extinction.
In the art exhibit Coming Unbound eleven artists explore the concept of “book” as inspiration in unique and personalized ways to convey their artistic messages.
Artists in the Show
My first experience with found objects and mixed media (not counting macaroni stuck to construction paper) was the time I glued my hair trimmings onto shirt cardboard, making a picture of a cat. I was ten. I still love to explore the beauty presented by discarded objects. Squinting my eye so that detritus becomes pure shape, texture and color.
Working with these books has been the same kind of experience. It took a while to overcome my fear of tearing up books, but now I love it. There are so many possibilities for exploration–the ink on the manipulated pages create new patterns, the pages are soft or stiff, the bindings are solid. That’s to say nothing of playing with the words themselves.
My work explores the relationship of nature and aging. Moving through stages of life, nature reflects the human condition. I take inspiration from the smaller parts of nature such as grasses, rocks, and twigs, finding meaning in their phases through life to decay. The books were constructed on artist residencies in various countries and states using objects created by both nature and man in a particular environment and time. The book format provides a medium that allows me to combine my love of various materials, techniques, use of multiple images, collage and text.
Although some of my books are pure, elegant structures, sculptural using handmade papers and found natural objects, others include paintings, photos, prints often of small intimate objects or scenes. Books are personal journals including paintings, collages and text about a certain place at a certain time and my reaction to the atmosphere, setting, people that I encounter. The book maps my impressions and memories of the many places that I have visited in the US and around the world. It is very important for me to focus and reflect on the world that I encounter, especially in relationship to the themes that I am exploring in my work.
My relationship with books has been a vehicle in which I am taken away from my daily life providing a gateway to imagination within a world of words. Bringing the idea of books into a sculptural concept to tell a story without words has stretched my creativity provoking a way to visualize books as a metaphor. I found, in my first attempt, that fabricating a book to resemble a tree as a safe haven was profoundly symbolic to me.
Books have a way of taking us places in our creative aspects very much like art does. This project, Book As Sculpture, presented me with some challenges by testing my inventiveness. My use of natural and found elements lent themselves well to create and express books in a sculptural art form which expanded my artistic sensibilities and has opened up my imagination much like opening a book.
I draw from objective and subjective realities, while referencing nature and psyche to create temporary site responsive installations and interactions. I work in nature or architectural environments using familiar, non-precious materials, in often-uncommon ways. I engage the world through art to invoke visual poetry, meaning and metaphor with hopes of inspiring greater connection to the worlds within and around us.
For the Coming Unbound exhibition Gloria Lamson and Rebecca Welti will create an installation using visual metaphors suggesting flights of the mind.
I work with acrylic paint, graphite and ink, as well as generous amounts of glitter, paper, and various recycled materials. For Coming Unbound I have selected a particularly visually elegant book for use as a primary medium.
Recently, I have been thinking in terms of a ZOOM in/ZOOM out quality of life: zoom in on the immediate, food, jokes, bills, lovers, traffic, temperature . . . zoom out to ocean size, solar system, sugar molecules in space, black hole at the center of our galaxy, a planet made entirely of diamond, vastness, universe, multiverse . . . repeat. This is wrapped up in a fragile/epic, childlike awareness that so much is happening all at once; that tigers and happy hour exist on the same planet, that Jupiter and Twinkies share a solar system. I find these times of wonder powerfully beautiful, disturbing, comforting, overwhelming, enlightening and unpredictable.
Most of my work is a hybrid of two opposing approaches. One, loose painting techniques: dripping, pours, splatters, which effectively represent natural elements – weather, water, clouds, smoke, etc. And the other, using architects’ tools, templates and compasses to rigorously draw controlled lines, concentric circles, grids and repetitive dots; using these to reflect structures and infrastructures that we build.
I am influenced by the look of outer space, computer chips, dramatic weather, electric circuits, decay, rock-n-roll glamour, plans and diagrams, b-rate sci-fi control panels, urban environments, fluid turbulence, engineering schematics and architectural drawings.
Over some years I have made an on-going series of drawings that come from the simple idea that a visual person such as myself has more opportunities to record thoughts visually, rather then verbally. Since I want to record my ideas by hand, I draw rather then photograph. This series reveals the many thoughts and ideas that stream through my head at different periods. Ideas that come from conversations, reading, looking, listening, and generally going about my active, engaged life.
I began by making individual drawings of an open book that I then drew into on the two pages. I then decided to create my own “book” to record in, and so developed an etching plate with the image of an open book that I occasionally re-print to provide myself more pages as I run out. I appreciate these pages. The two-page set up gives me the opportunity to put down ideas that are in tension to each other and in fact mirrors the way my mind is constantly working.
While I work more often these days in 3-D, in the form of temporary installations and for various public art projects, I always come back to drawing. I appreciate the exploration of ideas that I can make magically appear on the empty page.
For the Northwind show I will set up a tension between thoughts on my paper book pages and a small companion installation that reveals my intimate relationship with the many, many books that I have and will read. I cannot imagine a life without books to keep me open and on my toes. Thinking. Going to different places. Imagining. Learning. Wondering.
Books have held a prominent place in my life for the past 36 years. I guess you can say I have had several book “lives”.
As a Rare Book Conservator I washed, pressed, sewed, bound, unbound, repaired, restored, and preserved books in library conservation labs for many years. This experience gave me a valuable foundation in book structure and exposure to many styles of book bindings. During my time as a conservator I had an opportunity to study book design, papermaking, and hand press printing, eventually setting up a limited edition fine press workshop at the University of Utah Marriott Library where I taught classes on the history and practice of hand printing and bookbinding.
An internship at the Library of Congress and the access it provided me to collections of rare and unusual books ignited my interest and passion for traditional and non-traditional book structures from around the world. This experience provided the inspiration for my total emersion into the “book arts”.
…..untie, unfasten, remove restraints and/or restrictions, release, unblock, unravel, limitless, without constraint, loose, undue, set free, emancipate, enlarge, liberate, unfetter, unchain, manumit, unbind …….