Saturday, 19 May 2012

The River City goes to New York

Two books are just about to make their way to the Center for Book Arts in New York for the exhibition Book as Witness: The Artist's Response, to be held from 11th July to 22nd September. 

The River City is a book I made last year following the floods in Brisbane which affected the river suburb I live in.  I was one of the lucky ones who was an eyewitness but escaped being inundated.  Maria Pisano, the curator of the exhibition asked me if I could also send a copy of The Battle Within (which seems to be having a second life this year) and she asked Monica Oppen for her book Stabat Mater.  Maria had seen both these books in Monica's great catalogue The Silent Scream. Political and Social Comment in Books by Artists which is available not only in Australia but in the United States too.

PS 20th May : Thanks to news from Amanda, The Silent Scream by Monica Oppen and Peter Lyssiotis has won a gold medal for Independent Writing/Publishing in the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books in English for the North American market.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Keith Smith and Scott McCarney

These two sample books were made at a two day workshop with Keith and Scott in Brisbane in 2000.  Keith taught the hard cover paper and leather book and Scott the concertina spine book with soft cover.  I'm unable to attend their five day workshop in the SLQ this year, but I'm looking forward to attending their lecture at the SLQ on Sunday 27th May.

There is information about their workshops on the new SLQ Australian Library of Art blog here - a great way to keep up with what's going on at the ALA.  You'll also find a post about the opening of the Life's Journey exhibition at Redland Gallery. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

A Few of my Favourite Things

I've been down in Canberra this week and I went to see my book on display in the Australian War Memorial.  It was never intended to be displayed in a glass case as I meant for it to be handled and for the viewer to interact with it, but it looked great all the same, and I've had some feedback from an unexpected source that the way it was displayed illustrated the concept of  'not talking about it' perfectly.

What an added bonus to also see on the same wall one of Raymond Arnold's beautiful prints, Blood and Bone/Haemorrhage poem from his Memory/History series of ten monumental prints, produced in Paris after a residency in France visiting the battlefields of the Somme.

I first saw the exhibition of these prints in Brisbane at Gallery 482 in 2000 and they made an enormous impression on me.  There was also a large and beautiful book about the Memory/History series at this exhibition and I must check to see if the State Library of Queensland has one in its collection, as I'd love to see it again.

The Memorial also had on display a great digital print from 2009-10 about civilian deaths in the Iraq war by Michael Callaghan.

I was delighted to come across an interesting series of pen and ink drawings by George Grosz whose work is well known for showing the horrors of war and for attacking war-time capitalism.   It was great to see works other than those by the official war artists.  

While I was in Canberra I also enjoyed seeing some other old favourites of mine in the National Gallery - Fiona Hall's beautifully worked and detailed series of metal sculptures called Paradisus Terristris, an example can be seen here. I enjoyed seeing Pollock's Blue Poles, Jasper John's lithographs, and Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series again, a couple of Ian Fairweather's paintings, Baldessen's Pears as well as a wall of those gorgeous incredibly detailed linocut prints by G.W.Bot.  I'd seen these prints at Grahame Galleries in Brisbane years ago and one of them was reproduced on the exhibition card and it still sits on the cork board behind my desk.  One of the most stunning things though was an Art Deco sterling silver and wood tea and coffee service made in France in 1925.

Baldessen's Pears, NGA

I also fitted in a visit to the National Library and saw an interesting exhibition about Patrick White (and another Ian Fairweather above his desk) and an exhibition of Treasures, which included lots of manuscript and booky things like a beautifully illuminated Book of Days from the 15th century, early printed books including a page from a Gutenberg bible, a book by William Morris and lots of similar objects.