Friday, April 29, 2011

Artists' Books Show at University of Utah: "Booking a Brouhaha"

When the Artists' Books class ended, the final book project from each student and juried books from earlier assignments were arranged in an exhibition titled "Booking a Brouhaha." The show also displays the collection of "books" made by each student for an assemblage project and the collaborative mail art produced during the class. The exhibition will be in the Special Collections Gallery on the 4th floor of the J. Willard Marriott Library on the campus of the University of Utah. The exhibition will run through May during library hours. In June the collection will be transported to Jackson, Wyoming, for exhibition through the summer.

I was able to spend a little time helping to set up the show, and had the opportunity to arrange the display of my two books that are in the show. Here they are in the display cases.
Eighty Million Dead

RAMdom Memory
Here are some pictures of setting up the books for the displays and some of the finished display cases. There is a wonderful variety of work produced by the members of this Artists' Books class. A few of the students were art majors, but most of the members came from various back grounds. Most were young (20s) university students, but there were a few old timers in the mix. I was one of the oldest, if not the oldest participant. I had to really stretch my creative muscles this semester.

Mary Toscano, Exhibitions and Book Arts Coordinator, arranging a display for the case.

Mary by the display case we just finished.
 This is the book arts studio where Chris McAfee and Marnie Powers-Torrey, the Artists' Books instructors and talented, accomplished artists in their own right, and for   whom I have great admiration, are feverishly working to finish grading. On the tables in the studio are some of the books being arranged for the display cases. I can only remember a few of the artists' names, but those I do remember I will label.

This is Patti Pitts' work. She is a textile artist, who makes beautiful dyed silks. This is a bracelet of small silk bound books.

The following photos are the cases in the exhibit area which were finished before and while I was there to help.

The two photos above show the contents of the assemblage to which each student contributed one "book" item. Each student in the class made an edition of 35 so that all class members have one piece of the other student's work. The book I contributed is the cream-colored book lying in the middle. My favorite in this assemblage is Louise Levergneux's City Shields, photos of manhole covers, which is seen in the top photo, lower right corner. Her work is in several museum and university collections. I felt privileged to work with her in this class.

This book is striking when held and seen up close. It commemorates the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in April 2011. The book behind it and shown in the next two pictures is by Joe Carter, a fine artist with paintings in several local galleries. His realistic paintings are so precise that they can be mistaken for photographs.

This interesting accordion fold book is by Michael Hurst.

This is Louise Levergneux's final book, based on her name and all the songs that have the name "Louise" in the title or the lyrics. Each page is created like an old 45rpm record. The stack of "records" fits in the metal canister.

This is Patti Pitts' final creation containing several books within the larger book and telling a story of the discovery of silk.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Artists' Books, Part 7

This was the final project for the Artists' Books class. My original idea was to publish ten Coptic bound copies of twenty memoir pieces that I have written during the last seven years at a Jordan District Writing Memoir class.  I was planning to title it Random Memory, because the memoirs are not in chronological order. The instructors said it was a good project for a different class, but not for an artists' book class. It wasn't "avant garde" enough. So I had to start over on my idea.

I wanted to keep the memoir idea and the title, but I had to think of a new way to present it. I happened to see an article on Inca quipos, the long knotted strings that were used as memory aids to recall information. This reminded me of the "book mobile" that I made several years ago to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of mount Jordan Middle School. The two ideas combined in my mind as the form for my final book. Long strings of photo cards depicting random events in the last 63 years.
The 50th anniversary book mobile, 2005.
As I progressed, the idea of computer memory, RAM -random accessible memory, came into the picture. I found an old slide set box with two cassette tape containers and some nonfunctioning pieces of computer equipment, and the idea became solid. Our school computer tech gave me some obsolete RAM sticks and I was set to put everything together.

I made 150+ photo tags at random and of various sizes from my photo collection and tied them on the strings attached to the computer pieces. On the backs of some of the tags, I printed exerts of the memoirs I had planned to print. In each of the cassette cases I put a folded blue print: in one a diagram of a computer memory circuit, and in the other a scan of the human brain. I retitled the assemblage: RAMdom Memory.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Postal Art for April

These are some of my postal art cards for April. I sometimes forget to take a picture before I send my cards and letters out. Once they are sent, they are gone forever. I sent out several post cards to Mail Art calls this month. One each to Arizona, Colorado Netherlands, and two to Portugal.

I sent this post card to Portugal.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Artists' Books , Part 6

The book three assignment for the Artists' Book class was to stretch the idea of bookness as far as possible and still be justified as a book. I used an old Kodak slide carousel as the basis for the shape of the book and the "spine" that holds everything together. I used eighty sheets of card stock that I stained with crepe and tissue paper and water. The stains on most of the pages remind me of marbling. Other pages suggest stained glass.

I made a template and cut all eighty pages so they fit in the slide tray. Each page is folded and glued on the inner edge.

I originally thought I would stamp a number on each page, but I decided that the numbers on the slide tray would be enough for the pagination. Without numbers on the pages, they can be removed, examined and rearranged in any order. I also thought I would do some type of design on each page, geometric or or free form, but i couldn't conceive of a design progression for eighty pages. I also did not want to detract from the coloring of the pages, each one being unique.

I also took the slide tray box and fashioned a box to house the finished "book." The title of the book is Quatre-Vingts Feuilles or Eighty Leaves (sheets). I chose a French title to lend an air of elegance.