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:

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Installation Week & Opening Night - Redland Art Gallery Cleveland

 100 Books: A Personal Histories International Artists' Book Exhibition
has opened to a very enthusiastic audience at 
Redland Art Gallery Cleveland (Queensland, Australia).

Congratulations to all the contributing artists involved.

It was an honour and a pleasure to have Jan Davis officially, and very eloquently, 
open the exhibition with Redland Art Gallery Director Stephanie Lindquist (in the blue dress below) acting as MC.


Exhibiting artist's books since the late 1980's,  
Jan Davis has undertaken duties as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Southern Cross University, is Vice President of the Print Council of Australia and is one of two Siganto Foundation Fellows currently based at the Australian Library of Art ( State Library of Queensland).  As part of her fellowship, Jan has chosen to research historical diaries and farm records from the John Oxley collection which she will transfigure into artists' books. 

The Redland Art Gallery exhibition holds 110 works in total 
with contributing artists from 16 countries.

100 works form the main body of the exhibition along with 10 works in an adjunct display which focuses on the centenary of WWI from a perspective of personal/family connections.

As the exhibition coincides with school holidays here, there is a dedicated area for children to create and display book art, with books referencing childhood in close proximity (all safely under perspex covers - of course).  We already have some wonderful examples after an enthusiastic response from the young people in attendance last night.

There is a reading table area where books are able to be read and touched.

I will be hosting a floor talk at the gallery at 11.30am Sunday 29 March 2015. 

Helen Malone will host a floor talk focusing on the WWI artworks at 11.30am Friday 24 April 2015.
Workshops are planned for this afternoon as well.  For details contact the gallery directly.
There are also artists' groups who have organised guided, white gloves tours throughout the run of the exhibition after having had tours of the first Personal Histories exhibition at Redland Museum in October 2014.

Many thanks to the Redland Art Gallery staff for their tireless efforts and skill in making exhibitions like this a reality.

Exhibition runs through until Sunday 10 May.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Redland Art Gallery - Opening Friday 27 March 2015 at 6pm

We are currently installing the second round of the
Personal Histories exhibition  at
Redland Art Gallery
telephone:  07 3829 8899).

The exhibition has been subtitled
100book: A Personal Histories International Artists' Book Exhibition.

This title encompasses the number of books on display (yes - 100!!!)
as well as referencing the inclusion of 10 other works commemorating the Centenary of WWI.

The opening night event is on this Friday 27 March 2015 at 6pm.

The exhibition is open to the public from Sunday 29 March until Sunday 10th May.

I will be conducting a floor talk on Sunday 29 March at 11:30 am and there will be a second floor talk focusing on the WWI section of books,
with contributing artist Helen Malone, on Friday 24 April at 11.30am.  
Contributing artists are invited to attend this event and meet up with fellow exhibitors.

A number of artist's groups have made plans to attend together to view the exhibition and
the gallery are planning to run a workshop in conjunction with the exhibition.
More details to come.

The gallery have used the above image above from contributing American artist Elsi Vassdall Ellis' work 'What's in a name cowgirl blues' to advertise the exhibition in their promotional material.

I'm looking forward to sharing more with you soon.
The exhibition is looking wonderful with so many glorious books on display!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Feature Artist: KAREN HARDY

is a visual artist currently living in San Antonio, Texas.

She works primarily with innovative hand paper making techniques in a variety of forms, including artist books, sculpture and installation.  Her practice is centered on an experimental approach to materials, influenced by her background in the natural sciences.

A graduate of the book arts & printmaking MFA program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Karen's work is part of prominent national collections and is widely exhibited both nationally and internationally.  Her artists books have recently received awards in exhibitions at the Northern Arizona University Art Museum and the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library.
Karen has been awarded a Denbo Fellowship by Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and a College Book Art Association Project Assistance grant.  She has also recently been artist-in-residence at the Picante Paper and Book Arts Studio at the Southwest School of Art.

Curiosity about materials is my primary motivation as an artist. My creative process involves intuitive experimentation with the expressive properties of materials and the associations that they carry. My artist books, sculpture, and two-dimensional work often begin with paper that I make by hand, and their meaning is inseparable from their physical materials.  I am fascinated by biological forms and systems. Consciously or not, my selection and manipulation of materials often yields work that is vaguely evocative of living organisms and bodily processes. I am especially drawn to paper pulp made from overbeaten abaca and flax for its organic, corporeal effect. This material layers and interacts with light in compelling ways, capable of being beautifully luminous and uncomfortably grotesque at once. Its translucent, membrane-like quality suggests a blurred boundary between interior and exterior, private and public, protected and vulnerable. Much of my work explores this liminal state, inviting the viewer into a realm of duality and ambiguity.

Two of Karen's works have been part of the Personal Histories project:


focuses on the various roles we fill throughout our lives as both caregiver and dependant.  My intent is to highlight the conflict between the instinct to nurture and the desire to be unencumbered, the push and pull between dependence and independence, and our vacillation between vulnerability and strength.  In this book, the paper itself becomes a vehicle for exploring the variety of emotion encompassed in these relationships.  

The handmade flax pages contain egg-shaped openings partially filled with delicate abaca membrane, echoing the longing present in the text.


is a journey through progressive stages from passivity to action.  The text and imagery describe a struggle to overcome a state of apathy and indecision caused by fear and regret.  Because the handmade abaca paper is translucent, as many as three or four sheets can be visible simultaneously when layered, creating an evolving visual narrative that comes in and out of focus much as mental clarity may wax and wane.  

The book is composed of twelve double-sided 4" x 11" (10cm x 28cm) prints, bound with a modified long stitch in a variable edition of five.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Feature Artist - JEN CONDE

is an artist and graphic designer living on a pacific coastal waterway south of Brisbane, Australia.
She exhibits prints, paintings and artists books in her solo and group exhibitions held across Australia and internationally.  She has won various awards, including 'Best of Show', Rotary Art Spectacular 2008, 'Best Overall', Aveo Art Show 2010 and has work in the National Gallery of Australia print collection.  

Jen has illustrated a number of books for local authors and is an active member of local artists and writers groups.
She holds a Diploma of Fine Arts from the Brisbane Institute of Art and a Diploma of Visual Communications from the Queensland College of Art.  

Jen's  contribution to the Personal Histories exhibition  is a mixed media and calligraphy artists book made on Hahnemühle 250gsm paper entitled "The Netmaker":

'The book is about the poem "The Netmaker" written by early Brisbane poet, teacher and opera critic 'Val Vallis' (1916-2008). 

Val Vallis gave permission to use his poem which is about his father, a fishing net maker who worked as a wharf lumper and fisherman.  "The Netmaker" is the poet's lyric ode to the memories of his father mending and making his nets.  Val died a few years ago and this exhibition is a good opportunity to remember him and his poetry but also because the poem is about his own father and the nets he made.'


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.