The doors have closed today on the
100Book: A Personal Histories International Artists' Book Exhibition
at Redland Art Gallery.
It has been a brilliant exhibition with lots of positive feedback from gallery visitors and staff.
Since the opening night event we have had two artist's floor talks, three guided walk throughs and one bookmaking workshop.
I have been very remiss in not putting any posts up on the blog over the run of the show, but I hope you will be bear with me as I get back on track.
I would like to share with you some of opening speaker, Jan Davis', words about the exhibition and about the practice of artist book making:
This exhibition of books is presented in a climate we are constantly told, of diminished reverence for the book, for the feel of the book, a time when people are supposedly turning away from reading a bound object held in their hands, turning towards reading from a screen. The 100book exhibition brings together artists who aspire to reignite our relationship with the book.
Why do artists make books?
There are many answers, but I want to talk about just two reasons that are powerfully demonstrated in this exhibition, (and I don't use that adjective lightly).
1. books can tell a story: they are open to presenting a narrative in a way that many single stand-alone works of art, such as a painting, a print or a piece of sculpture are not. A sequence of pages (not necessarily covered in words) gives an opportunity to develop a concept, to draw out or build an idea. And many artists, as you will see in this exhibition, have a complex story to tell.
2. books are intimate: they are quiet objects of contemplation. They take time, time to make, and they reward time spent reading them. They feel intimate in the making, they lure we bookmakers into revealing quite a lot about ourselves and others. Being with a book takes us to a very private place.
Viewers of this exhibition will recognise the narrative and the intimacy in the books and in the artists' statements that support them.
CATHERINE KIRKPATRICK (USA) writes that in creating these images her immediate family and ancestors came into her mind, their births, their life's journeys that led to her being born in New York City. She writes "I see their triumphs and struggles, and in my work I honour them'.
JAQUELINE BALMER - UNITED KINGDOM (LANCASHIRE) in describing her project "Was she the one who?", which involved working with old family photographs, writes 'Names were forgotten, or attributed to the wrong face, anecdotes were confused and embellished. Now, not knowing who these people were, we read stories into their images based on their expressions, their clothing or surroundings. Some of the stories you may read in these images are more accurate than others'.
HELEN SANDERSON (AUSTRALIA) in her work 'My grandmother was a Dear: The female line - Tracing the invisible women and those who came later', her 4th book records some of the lace passed down to her from these women. Lace pressed against their skins - Narratives and intimacy indeed!
This exhibition also demonstrates a key aspect of the artist's book community and that is their capacity to build and sustain communities of makers. Robyn (Foster) has tapped into existing national and international networks of artists making books to invite participation in this project and to also promote and disseminate information about the exhibition. She has created new communities and is continuing to do that.