Books are art in upcoming group show
Visual artists have long been fascinated by books, often because books provide a way to distribute reproductions of original works.
Impagination, a group exhibition at Heights Arts that will open Friday, Aug. 19, and run through Sunday, Oct. 16, is not about reproductions; in this show, books themselves are one-of-a-kind works of art, designed to be held in the hands and leafed through in a narrative sequence.
The 13 featured artists, selected by the Heights Arts Exhibition Community Team after an open call for applicants this past spring, are Melissa Bloom, Phyllis Brody, Yiyun Chen, Julianne Edberg, Gene Epstein, Michael Gill, Jeanetta Ho, Amy Jacobs, Karen Koykka O’Neal, Rachel Morris, Wendy Partridge, Zoe Taylor, and Emanuel Wallace.
Ho described her process for blending the pages of a book with imagination: “Capitalizing on the ethereal qualities of handmade milkweed paper, these books weave the seemingly ephemeral, mystical sheets into objects that can be opened to catch the light and release its spirit.” The patterns of the milkweed fibers pressed into Ho’s pages tell stories that otherwise drift away in dreams of growth, flowering, dying back and then flying again.
In a simultaneous Spotlight Gallery exhibition at Heights Arts, ceramic artist Jackie Miller identifies patterns that form along the threshold between nonsense and poignant clarity. In presenting her porcelain body of work, Miller asks, “What happens when predator, prey, consumer of carrion (with keen eyesight), and an inanimate object animated only in the mind of a human encounter one another? What if we only observe a split second of their story? I am exploring here those times when we arrive in the middle (or the muddle) of a story without knowledge of what preceded or eventually ensued. Can we suspend our proclivity to imagine a context without the facts, or is the pressure to make sense of the momentarily nonsensical ultimately overpowering?"
These two exhibitions reverberate with meaning as pages pluck strings of symbols linked along chains of stories. The shared experience of the human condition is a burgeoning book, and Heights Arts presents new volumes for visitors to explore.
For more information on Heights Arts' community programs and events, including house concerts, gallery performances and outreach, visit www.heightsarts.org.
Tom Masaveg is a public artist specializing in augmented reality installation and graphite works on paper. He's also the programs manager at Heights Arts. Contact him at email@example.com.