Thursday, February 17, 2011

Art Books/Book Art

Traditional wood board binding on five raised cords. Leather, glass, brass, hand made paper serpent, pigments, resins, wax.
Timothy C. Ely 1995

I really enjoyed the spirited comments on my previous post about collage. Now I'm ready to talk about another art form that is a bit of a mystery to me, but which I'm gaining some understanding of: bookmaking, bookbinding and altered books. Like collage, when I first started reading about and seeing art in the form of books, I really didn't get it. Altered books in particular remain mostly a mystery to me - who in their right mind would deface a book, I wondered. Yet I am really intrigued with what Margaret Cooter is doing with her old Morning Pages Journals (see this post). I have a bunch of these that I am close to tossing, but she is giving me pause...

Margaret is also thoroughly exploring bookmaking and binding through some classes she is taking - Her blog is full of her experimentation as well as examples from fellow students and established artists (see this example for instance). Reading along with her progress as well as my own exploration into bookbinding via library books is helping me to understand this method of expression and find it charming at times, fascinating in its intricacy and yes, sometimes I still don't totally get it. Yet, I find myself on the verge of putting together a small art book...

When I read about an exhibit of Timothy C. Ely's books, "Line of Sight," at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane, I was strangely drawn to see it. Later, I read a more in-depth article about Ely and his art in The Pacific Northwest Inlander, and realized I was starting to "get" it. It's a fascinating article that you can read here. There's even a connection between collage and bookmaking. I'm pretty excited about viewing this exhibit which runs through April 16 (see details here), especially the section where viewers can actually pick up and page through one of his books. Here's a teaser quotation from the article:

"...our collective experience with books, a history that stretches back nearly 2,000 years, tells us that books are meant to be read and understood. In choosing the book as art form, Ely has added an unintentional dash of sadism for the viewer: They’re pleasurable to view, but painful for some to figure out."

So my question to you, my readers is, do you "get" this art form? Do you yourself make art or altered books and why? What can you tell me to help me understand this form of expression?

1 comment:

Connie Rose said...

Can't wait to see what you create. I love handmade artist books!