Personal Histories Artist Book Exhibition

Bringing together artists from around the globe to share their own stories in artist book form. Sharing similarities, diversities and individual perspectives. Highlighting the dynamic world of artist books.

REDLAND MUSEUM: 12 October - 30 November 2014
REDLAND ART GALLERY: 29 March - 10 May 2015
UNSW CANBERRA: October - November 2015

For more information please contact the Coördinator, Robyn Foster (email:

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Feature Artist: JOHN RETALLACK

is a photographic artist from Rochester, New York.

John has an extensive and varied career in the photographic arts.   Since working in arts education at The School of Visual Arts NYC and Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Photographic Arts & Sciences, John now devotes his time and talents to his own freelance commercial and fine art photography projects.   John has participated consistently in  public exhibitions since 1973 with works in numerous publications and private and public collections including Wallace Memorial Library Archives, George Eastman House, Monroe Community Hospital, Russian Fine Art Photographers Union and Iron County Museum.

John explains himself on his website in 10 points:

1. Born in Michigan's Upper Peninsular:  Became a Yooper.
2. Got his first camera, age 10
3. Joined a MASH unit (US Army) and was trained as an X-Ray technician
4. Stationed in Germany during the Cold War
5. Studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, BFA Degree
6. Freelanced in New York City shooting magazines & ad agencies
7. Began teaching career at the School of Visual Arts in NYC
8. Accepted a teaching position at RIT which led to Tenure in the 
School of Photographic Arts & Sciences
9. Quit working at RIT (early retirement)
10. Continues freelancing in photography, doing things he's always wanted to do.

John's contribution to the Personal Histories exhibition is a touching and intriguing entry entitled 
"All My Love, Mike".
It is a collection of images and text on loose pages housed in a hand made clam-shell box.

"Dad was drafted in 1942.  He was a surgeon.  First he was sent to Texas to train with other doctors in an Army Hospital unit.  Mom followed him there.  When he was sent to the South Pacific she went back home to Michigan.  For Christmas in 1944 she traveled to Denver to stay with relatives for a few months.  Every day, as much as possible, they exchanged letters.  Mom would enclose pictures, mostly of their new son, me, which he was eager to see.

After their deaths, within a few months of each other, I found Dad's letters and Mom's pictures hidden in separate places.  The pictures I examined immediately but held the letters for years before I was able to read them.  This book is a tribute to the love, respect and longing I witnessed in the letters.

This book was created in 2014 over a period of about 3 months.  I am responsible for all scanning, photography and assembly.  After some deliberation I decided that the pages should be loose and in a box as the original letters and pictures were.

The text was scanned from letters to my mother (70 total) covering dates from September 1944 to February 1945 (the only ones I have).  The pictures were scanned from snapshots found in a book where Dad had kept them.  The backgrounds used in some of the pages were created in the studio.  Text, pictures and backgrounds were assembled and printed from InDesign and printed to archival standards.  The box was created with Canapetta Bookcloth and Flanders British Tan bonded leather, also to archival standards."


Wednesday, 21 January 2015


is an artist and educator from Stuttgart, Germany.

Dorothea has had more than 60 personal exhibitions and been part of more than 180 group exhibitions since 1996, when she began her arts journey at The Art Institute, Filderstadt/Stuttgart.  She has also studied at  IB University - Stuttgart (Creative Pedagogy and Art Therapy B.Sc.), L'cole Europeenne de Psychotherapie Analytique - Strasbourg, France (Psychotherapy), Societa Italiana di Biosistemica - Bologna, Italy (Biosystemic Psychotherapy), HKT University Nurtingen Germany (Art Therapy M.A.) and Art University Bucharest (Doctoral Candidate).

She actively produces book arts, installations, painting, ceramics and films and has represented Germany at arts events and as an artist in residence in the United States, Malaysia, Poland, Japan, Slovakia, Greece, South Korea, Hungary, Jordan, Austria and Romania.  Dorothea has organised &/or taken part in many international Biennales as well as teaching fine arts in China, Ecuador, Germany, Romania, the United States and Inner Mongolia.

Dorothea's works are held in many private and public collections in South America, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.  She is a member of the International Association of Arts, UNESCO, Paris, France - Wurttembergischer Kunstverein (Artists Ass.) Stuttgart, Germany - d.f.e.w.a. (Artists Ass.) Stuttgart and the European-Liaison "Transcultural Exchange" Boston, USA.

In 2014 Dorothea curated the European International Book Arts Biennale in Moscow and is organising the 2015 Biennale in Bucharest (entries are due by April 15 2015, please visit the link for more information).

To: Te: Ma. SH Diary 2012-2014
is the title of Dorothea's work in the Personal Histories exhibition.

"Every artist creates his own journal/diary, that transposes his physical state of mind and embodies a part of their soul, constantly influenced by specific moments in life".


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Feature Artist: ILZE DILANE

is a Latvian artist who currently specialises in paper making and pulp paintings. 
 She is based in Latvia's capital city of Riga.

Ilze attended Riga College of Applied Arts from 1985-1989 and in 1999 received a BA from the Latvian Academy of Art in restoration and painting.  In 2001 she received a Postgraduate Master's Workshop Diploma in painting.

Ilze has participated in many Latvian and international art events, received public art commissions in Latvia and Denmark and has had numerous solo exhibitions.  She has attended encaustic painting classes at Stamp Antonio as well as paper making, book arts, printmaking, letterpress and mosaic classes at the Southwest School of Art & Craft, with paper making and pulp painting becoming her primary interests.

In 2006 Ilze became a member of SAVA (San Antonio Visual Artists) and, in 2010, a member of Texas Wax San Antonio.  In 2009, one of her hand made paper works was awarded 2nd place in a juried group show Art and Archaeology at SAVA gallery, San Antonio.  In 2008 she was awarded the opportunity to participate in the Creative Capital Professional Development Retreat for Artists, the Cultural Collaborative Office of Cultural Affairs, City of San Antonio.

Ilze's submission for the Personal Histories exhibition is a family collaboration entitled "The Winter of My Gratitude".

The book was written by her eldest daughter, Nora Dilane,  and tells the story of how Nora picked the name for her younger sister, Sara.  The design and paper for the book were created by Ilze, the text edited by Gatis Dilans and the drawings provided by Sara Dilane.

The paper is made from jeans, text is letterpress and the drawings were solar plate printed at the Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, Texas in 2010.


Wednesday, 31 December 2014



Feature Artist - Julie Macbean

Feature Artist: Julie Macbean

Julie Macbean is a painter-printmaker living in Darlington, UK.  Graduating with an MA in Fine Art from Teeside University in 2012, she is inspired by nostalgia and historical events; looking for the undesirable and the overlooked.

Julie's submission for the Personal Histories Exhibition 'Absent Voices' is based around Marianne Hirsh's 'Postmemory' and alludes to the inherited memories passed down from the generation before, bringing absent voices to life (especially pertinent at this time of year when we remember absent friends).

The images and intriguing snippets were found during a house clearance for a family member; and the book was put together by talking to family members and through internet research.

'Absent Voices' is a beautifully bound linen box of ephemera; containing hand printed and facsimile photographs on both loose and bound pages. Scrolls and facsimile vintage postcards housed in nooks and pockets make this a very interactive and interesting addition to the Personal Histories exhibition. 

'Postmemory is not the recalling of a person's memory; it describes the relationship that the "generation after" bears to the personal collective, and cultural trauma of those who came before.

To be dominated by narratives that preceded one's birth or one's consciousness, is to grow up with overwhelming inherited memories, remembering only by means of stories and images.

These events happened in the past, but heir effects continue into the present."

Marianne Hirsch


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Feature Artist: Dana LeMoine

is an artist and teacher from Minneapolis, USA,
working in printmaking, paper making, bookmaking, drawing and collage.  

Dana was born and raised in Wisconsin and earned her Master of Fine Arts-Printmaking from Arizona State University and  her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Emphasis on Printmaking) from the University of Wisconsin.  She is currently Education and Community Programs Manager at the Highpoint Centre for Printmaking, Minneapolis.

Dana's submission for the Personal Histories exhibition is 

December 24, 1443 East Harriet Street

"It is an exploration of my family on Christmas Eve through many years.  It looks at how we treat this holiday very different from the rest of the year, even though many of us do not believe in the holiday itself.  I am unsure of how Christmas traditions began in our family, but I believe they need to be examined in order to understand how our family can make positive changes in the future."

The book is printed using Xerox transfers, screen printing and letterpress.  It is a variant edition of 10 with each version hand-bound in different fabric.

Dana's artworks show a continuing interest and exploration of family history and interpersonal relationships which extends across her drawing/collage, printmaking and bookmaking practises.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Redland Museum - Over and Out

The Personal Histories Exhibition at Redland Museum has drawn to a close, 
with the last day of viewing being Sunday November 30.

I send a huge thanks and congratulations to all artists 
who have been involved with this first stage of the project.

The exhibition has been a huge success with a great deal of interest being shown in each and every artwork, the overall concept of artists' books, the variety of constructs and mediums employed by artist book makers and also the personal stories contained within the artworks.  There have been a well attended opening, a large number of visitors throughout the run, private group viewings, curator talks, a one-day workshop and visits from participating artists from both Australia and overseas (notably Sara & Theresa from Michigan, USA and Kyoung from Busan, Korea).

The exhibition will remain permanently online on the Personal Histories Website for all to view.

(The online catalogue is still a work in progress due to a file problem, and lack of time to sort it out properly, but hopefully this will be fixed shortly.  Apologies if this has caused anyone inconvenience.)

The exhibition has been dismantled and now comes the huge task of packaging and posting artworks back to artists, approaching institutions to house donated artworks, and/or storing artworks for the Personal Histories exhibition in Canberra in late 2015. 

One contingency I didn't factor in is that parcels being returned may get caught up in the Christmas post deluge.  Hopefully this doesn't impact negatively upon anyone.

Of course, the story is far from over with the next Personal Histories exhibition (with a working subtitle of 100book) opening at Redland Art Gallery on 27 March 2015.

I will be emailing gallery forms to be completed by those participating in this next leg of the project shortly, with a reminder that works are to be delivered by Friday 13 March 2015 at the latest.