Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Ruin of Ruins


Like others I am moved by the tragedy of war, the loss of homeland and human suffering in Syria 
and also by the needless and wilful destruction of culture and heritage, particularly at Palmyra, 
one of the most important sites in Syria.  
Destroying a people's historical and cultural sites is an attempt to erase them 
from history and memory.


When I read the line in a news article - 
'A Syrian fighter stood sobbing loudly in the old ruins'
I wanted to sob too and felt compelled to make this book.


Monday, 27 March 2017

The First Artists Book.....


The First Artists Book that took my breath away was La Prose du Trans-Siberien et de la Petite Jehanne de France by the poet Blaise Cendrars and the artist Sonia Delaunay, dating from 1913. 

I was studying Art History at the University of Qld in the 80's and I was writing an essay about the work of Sonia Delaunay.  I was amazed and overwhelmed when I saw this book (or I should say I saw this book reproduced in books).  I have never been fortunate enough to view one of the original copies.

The book is a 2 metre long concertina book intended to be hung vertically.  It is made using letterpress and 'Pochoir', a type of stencil technique that was used in illustration at the time.
   

This book made such an impression on me that ever since I started making books in the late 1980's, the concertina and variations on it have been the most common structures I have used in my own books. The introduction to the 'galleries' section on my website mentions the influence of this book. 

Detail of Sonia Delaunay's artwork in  La Prose

A copy of the book was exhibited at MOMA in New York in 2013 and there is an blog post here about it written at the time of the exhibition.

The latest news I've just discovered is that Kitty Maryatt of Scripps College in Claremont, California is going to recreate the book as closely as possible to the original. She is writing a blog about the project here which also outlines her research to date. The book will be produced by letterpress in Paris, and Kitty will work on the pochoir with the Atelier Coloris in Ploubazlanec in France.  She will then do the making of vellum covers and the binding back in California.  
Sounds like a dream job!
I'll certainly be following the blog and her progress.   

Monday, 27 February 2017

Manly Artists Book Award


The Future of an Illusion detail 


The Future of an Illusion, a collaborative book I made with Jack Oudyn in 2016
has been selected for the Manly Artist Book Award
which takes place at the Manly Library in Sydney from 30th March to 2nd April
followed  by a travelling exhibition of the books that have been acquired.

A post I wrote about the making and meaning of this book can be found here
and Jack also wrote about this book on his blog here.


The judges for this year's award are Dr Michael Hedger, Director of Manly Art Gallery and Museum and Ben Rak an artist and independent curator.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Between the Sheets


Between the Sheets: Artists' Books Exhibition 2017 
will be presented by Gallery East in conjunction with Gallery Central in Perth, Western Australia from 18 March to the 8 April 2017.

Two of my books will be on exhibition.   




The Legacy of Silence  (2016)

I wrote a post about this book on my blog in August 2016 here.



and The Sunken Boat (2016) 

This piece is a reworking of a book sculpture called Rimbaud's Drunken Boat which had been on exhibition in France and was suitable for that exhibition with it's French themed poetry connection.
For this exhibition I reworked the etching on the perspex pages (moving currents, waves, water, seaweed, fish, debris) making it more dense and filled the gaps on each page with crosses referencing lives lost at sea - a reflection on refugees who have lost their lives in Australian waters.