Sunday, 16 July 2017

William Morris, By Chance


                                                 
         William Morris in the car park

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful
William Morris

While I was in London I went to meet an English friend who was staying
at her son's house in Walthamstow.  She suggested that the one thing I might be
interested in seeing in Walthamstow was William Morris's House and Gallery.
 Although I know William Morris of Arts and Crafts fame really well, I had no idea the Gallery
 was there or that it even existed and it turned out to be a lovely surprise
and a most enjoyable and informative morning.

William Morris was born in 1834 and lived in the house with his family from 1848 to 1856.



This is the only public gallery devoted to the work of William Morris.
The different eras of his life and areas he worked in were very well presented 
over the two floors of the house.

There were a number of interactive displays, films, audio and activities to
participate in along the way.   I couldn't resist making a little brass rubbing of a medieval knight
and was very tempted to make a block print or some stained glass in the workshop gallery.

Morris rejected industrial manufacturing methods and this gallery explained how his fabrics, wallpapers, carpets, tapestries
and stained glass were produced by craftsmen using traditional methods. 

There was a gallery of particular interest on the first floor devoted to "The Ideal Book" .
Late in his life Morris set up a private press and became a book designer.
 Many beautiful original books from the Kelmscott Press were on display,
 including a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer.


The Galleries covered all aspects of his life and besides being an active radical socialist fighting for equality, he fought for the preservation of heritage and the environment.

You can find more information about the Gallery and its displays here.

After sitting in the sun having coffee in the lovely conservatory style cafe at the back of the house there was still the garden to explore which was pretty, if a bit overgrown, and included a lovely moat and garden bridge.






 



Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Importance of Display of Artists Books


Ed Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, displayed

I have always placed importance on the presentation and display of my Artists Books
 and I think a focus on their visual aspect creates a much more rewarding experience
 for the viewer and is an important part of the genre.

I was recently in London and I saw some copies of Ed Ruscha's books displayed
 for sale in two different locations.

In one Twentysix Gasoline stations was displayed closed in a glass cabinet and
in the other it was also in a glass cabinet and opened at a one page spread.
I have seen Ruscha's books before always displayed like this or
showing little more than a couple of pages.

An image of Twentysix gasoline stations by Edward Ruscha
Ed Ruscha, Book cover

I attended The American Dream Pop to Present at the British Museum
(more on that in another post) and I was delighted to find
Ed Ruscha's Every Building on the Sunset Strip from 1966
unfolded to its full length of 7.6 metres and displayed along one long wall.

I had never seen any of his books displayed like this and it made such a difference
to get the sense of the buildings opposite each other stretched out along the strip
and walk the length along it viewing it.
Overall it looks also very much like car tracks along the paper.
It brought the book to life and made viewing it a fantastic experience.  

It was great to see such a perceptive display from the Curators at the British Museum. 


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

New Website


Apart from this blog, I have had a website which contains a portfolio of much of my work over the past twenty six years.
 It includes examples of some of my early books, like The Roman Alphabet, 1993 pictured above.
This website will be discontinued on 3rd June 2017.

I have a new website Helen Malone Visual Artist which contains the same content but has a new look. You will find it here.  
There is also a permanent link to the new website under my profile on the sidebar of this blog.

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.