The Art of the Book
Seager Gray Gallery presents The Art of the Book, the ninth annual exhibition of handmade artist books, altered books and book-related materials. Known throughout the country for their dedication to the book as a medium for art, this annual exhibition attracts artists from around the world and has become a source of education and inspiration for collectors and artists who make their annual pilgrimage to Mill Valley in May. With 26 artists in the exhibition, the work ranges from exquisite handmade artist books and altered books to even broader conceptual uses of books that explore our associations to their form, content and physical presence.
The exhibition runs from May 3 through June 1, 2014, Tuesday through Sunday. There is a reception for the artists on from 6 to 8 PM Saturday, May 10. Artists are Robert Berner, Doug Beube, Renee Billingslea, Kay Bradner, Christian Burchard, Julie Chen, Betsy Davids, Marie Dern, Jessica Drenk, Arián Dylan, Luciana Frigerio, Casey Gardner, Alisa Golden, Andrew Hayes, Charles Hobson, Claire Kessler-Bradner, Lisa Kokin, Vince Koloski, Guy Laramée, Michael O'Shea, Emily Payne, Donna Ruff, Claudia Smelser, Seiko Tachibana, Barbara Wildenboer. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full color catalog.
New to the exhibition this year is South African artist Barbara Wildenboer. Form mimics content in these volumes whose plantlike structures emanate from books with titles such as Lawn Trees and Shrubs in Central Africa, Herbacious Borders, and The Gardener in South Africa in her series, Dark Paradise. Oaxacan artist Arián Dylan’s Order and Chaos is a perfectly executed chess set created from carved pages of books and binding materials. It is a book object whose “story” involves kings and queens, castles and knights in endless conflict over power and territory. Jessica Drenk presents her amazing opus, Cerebral Mapping III. Drenk’s ingenious use of sliced book pages to convey patterns in nature and science (in this case neurosciencs) create a mesmerizing pattern on the wall.
This year’s selection of artists’ books stretch conventional ideas of the form. Julie Chen’s Family Tree is a set of 16 two inch cubes, housed in a drop spine box. By moving and turning the blocks, the viewer is able to change the narrative. Charles Hobson’s Diderot Decaptioned utilizes vovelles (spinning paper discs hidden behind a cover page.) allowing the viewer is able to spin the disk until they arrive at a caption that best captures the image portrayed. Vince Koloski “illuminates” his 20th Century Fossil Book by creating pages of laser-etched acrylic lit by hidden LED lights
Lisa Kokin’s Diagram and History of the World takes an abstract look at the aesthetic of the printed page. Using the uniform teeth of zippers, Kokin sews them into straight lines of different lengths like words set in pages made entirely of thread. The effect is elegant and minimal, with the reverential feeling of an Agnes Martin painting.
This exhibition is a yearly labor of love for the gallery as we endeavor to expand awareness of the book as a medium for art and encourage collectors. After nine years, The Art of the Book has become one of the most anticipated exhibitions in the Bay Area.