Sunday, November 03, 2013

Artists Books talks part 2

The second talk I went to as part of Pushing Print was The Art of the Book by  Ciara Healey.

Ciara and I recognised each other from a book event but couldn't place which one. Ciara had a selection of artists books for us to look at as well. I was very much enjoying getting to handle books at these talks.

As a type of art object, artists books need to be seen and handled to really appreciate their construction as well as design and content.
Book arts bypass the constraints of the gallery Ciara said and have and are a valuable vehicle for the dissemination of ideas, including the radical and revolutionary. She gave a brief overview of the artist book, from Dada and Duchamp to Fluxus, Yoko Ono, Ed Ruscha and Sol De Witt. One of the books Ciara mentioned, Yoko Ono's Grapefruit has been republished link here

Ciara then introduced to some contemporary book artists some of whom I followed up, including Barbara Barnes Allen who produces large concertina books that can fill a gallery. Her work uses found objects from where ever she is combined on collaged pages. the everyday is the subject.

Image from Fiber Artist Journey 

Barbara writes on the book arts website  
"My closing thought on these books I borrow from Baudelaire. I paraphrase, but he essentially said that the job of the artist is to distill the ephemeral to the eternal. And so, one of the ways we can demonstrate this concept is by using the most ordinary of things around us to produce art that is of this time and only this time. It can be difficult creating art from ordinary things, but to me, within that concept lays the challenge and the answer. Our everyday defines us, the time we live in and what we observe along the way."

Another book artist Ciara spoke about was Steve Mcpherson   website here
whose works have been installations. In Drift ll  he was inspired by the sea Ciara said, collecting books that were to do with the bottom of the sea and layering them first over the gallery floor. He then layered books to do with the inside of the sea, including fish and sea creatures and finally the top layer was composed of books that dealt with the surface of the sea including ships.
Visitors to the gallery could take off their shoes and walk across the surface of the sea.

Ciara's talk was really inspiring and gave me a lot of food for thought on ways to work with books. Her enthusiasm for artists books of all forms was catching and I've found myself  following up more artists from her talk  If you want to know a bit more about Ciara and her work her own website is  here

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