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:

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.