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: 28 September - 11 December 2015

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

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Split Shifts

I am pleased to say there are well over 100 artists now 
involved with the Personal Histories exhibition.

I have been deliberating long and hard as to how to do justice to each and every artist and their work and after discussions with gallery directors I have made the decision to  split  Personal Histories into two exhibitions.

Each exhibition will be held in professionally run gallery spaces with commensurate facilities and
in a similar locale.  

I will also be adding media components to the exhibition in order to show all the contributing artworks in the one space.

The only difference in exhibitions will be in timing as the original exhibition is scheduled for October/November 2014 and the second gallery will not be available until  April/May of 2015.

I apologise for the mid-flight change in arrangements but I feel this is the most satisfactory way of ensuring every work is shown to its maximum advantage.

Although it is less than ideal to have to split the exhibition, I find it very heartening and humbling that so many artists from around the globe have decided to take part in this project.

I welcome your comments and if there are any artists involved who find issue with this  arrangement,  I encourage you to contact me via email to discuss your concerns and/or wishes.

The cut off date for submission forms will remain Friday 22nd August 2014.

I will email each artist directly to discuss the changes.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Feature Artist - JAC BALMER

is an artist based in the north of England, she is currently focusing on artist books and printmaking.  

Originally training as an illustrator, her work is still very often produced in response to a text.

Jac considers herself to be an artist who employs a variety of techniques, depending on which is most appropriate for what the work has to say (in practice, she says, this means a lot of time spent reinventing the wheel).

At the moment her twin obsessions are printmaking and bookmaking.  Her work may be an exploration of an idea, e.g. 'Rapunzel' or 'Where the dead live' (made as part of BookArtObject Edition 4), a response to the surface qualities of a technique e.g. 'Weave', or a response to a place e.g. 'Concession Perpetuelle'.

Below, Jac speaks about some of her book works.

To me the dead live initially in the memories of those that knew them.  But later as these people also become memories they live on in the things they left behind.  This could be a name on a gravestone, an anonymous photo, the ruin of a house, an artefact in a museum or junk shop... The stories we tell about them may be no more than conjecture and imagination but while we do there is still some trace of the original person left (these ideas are further explored in my contribution to Personal Histories).

For the pages of 'Where the Dead Live' I used the names of people that I've come across over the years whose story, image or inscription has intrigued me.

In this book I wanted to look at the traditional story of Rapunzel and I was primarily interested by the relationship between the witch and the girl.

The tall format (and embossing on the cover) reference the tower.  I wanted to use the concertina format to play with the idea of stories having different interpretations and readers bringing their own viewpoint to the narrative.  How you fold the book influences and alters the visible image and these can be read in different ways.

The witch and Rapunzel.

Together inside the tower encircled by the dangers outside.

A hint of the intruder/outside influences which will drive a wedge between them.

The outcome of the relationship between Rapunzel and her prince.

The cyclical nature of the story.  

In the original Rapunzel became pregnant.  Does Rapunzel become the older woman trying to protect her child? (I decided in the end to use soft covers on the book so that they don't intrude when it is viewed as a circle).

(based on the structures in the cemetery in Argeles sir Mer)


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Feature Artist - MARYANN RIKER

is a mixed-media artist from Phillipsburg, New Jersey (USA).  

Maryann's artist books and collages convey a visual narrative through the book structure to remind one of the past and journeys through which we all travel throughout our lives.  Her works incorporate digital images, Victorian iconography and other symbols to convey a sense of memory and time as one opens and unfolds the works.  

Recent pieces deal with the later works of Emily Dickinson.  As she aged, it is believed Dickinson became an agoraphobic, sometimes keeping to her room for days and never leaving the house.  Dickinson created through her writing mental and emotional worlds through which she spiritually journeyed.  

Maryann's works have been exhibited throughout the Lehigh Valley, New York City and Philadelphia PA, and are included in many private and public collections.


Maryann's curatorial work includes "Altered and Assembled" (2009) at the Williams Center Art Gallery, Lafayette College, "Women's Work" (2010) at St. John's Gallery and "Altered and Assembled" Connexions Gallery (2014).

Maryann's works are also listed on the Vamp and Tramp Booksellers, LLC website.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Feature Artist - TAMARA TRACZ

is a visual artist from the United Kingdom who identifies herself as an artist, experimental film maker and writer. 

Following the birth of her children and the limitations of time that go with raising small children, Tamara has ably channelled her talents into artist book making.  

"When my daughter was born my filmmaking came to an abrupt and (for me) surprising stop.  I was unable to combine the intensity of motherhood with the concentration of long hours of film.  From the beginning this was difficult.  It wasn't a difficult decision.  I wanted to be with and care for my baby.  I loved her and I loved the work, with its many surprising challenges.  But I found it frustrating not making something - something of my own.  I took up knitting, but it didn't quite stop the gap."

Three Books is Tamara's first public venture into the artist book genre.  A set of three professionally bound and published books housed in a slipcase, they are filled with personal imagery and various forms of handwritten text which change in size and font throughout the journey of the book.   Three Books is a sensitive portrayal of Tamara's understanding of and connection with her family history, with the books working equally well as objects and as narrative text.

All images Sue Parkhill - copyright of the artist Tamara Tracz

Tamara has requested the books be handled and read by exhibition audiences rather than exhibited in non-accessible display cases, as the story contained in the books is an integral element in interpreting their existence.

Tamara is also currently working with fellow artist (and Personal Histories participant) Sue Parkhill  on an online collaborative project entitled This is Where We Are Right Now, ostensibly with Tamara providing the words and Sue providing the images.