C&C Press – Matt Cohen & Sher Zabaszkiewicz

C & C Press.That's What You Write About - Give & Take.2The two books That’s What You Write About – Give & Take And IN THE FACE OF IT from C&C Press live in custom boxes; boxes that are more enticing than most both because of their lively colors, and that their design and construction includes accent colors along the joint. I like things that are square so I’m first drawn to the blue and red box with Morton Marcus stamped on the spine.

C C Press boxes

I open the box to find not a square box, but one that is round. To meet the challenge of binding a shape that has no vertical fold the book is stab bound in a double x pattern that only goes front to back, not around the spine edge.
C C Press round spine detail
An inevitability with stab bindings is that they don’t open as well as I think books should. This one, however, has a nice deep spine piece that allows it to be gripped in one hand, while the other hand turns the pages, applying light pressure as needed to hold a page spread open. When I hold a book like this, I want to stand up; and when I stand up with a book of written words I feel like I should be reading aloud. Perfect – poems enjoy living in sound waves in addition to living on printed pages.

The book presents two pieces by poet Morton Marcus, presented one alongside the other rather than one following the other. That’s What Your Write About is printed on the left of each spread, on letterpress printed blue lined paper, in a rendition of the poet’s own hand. The hand that gets to turn the pages (in my case my right hand) is thrilled to feel the impressed blue lines, while my eyes appreciate the red vertical line that simulates that blue-lined paper that was endemic in my youth, the linespace decreasing as my handwriting grew more skillful and sophisticated.

Looking at this book my mind wanders, trying to remember the last time I felt the thrill of excitement that looking at a stack of blue-lined paper used to bring. That this paper is now something I feel nostalgic about isn’t something I’d have ever predicted.

Back to the book: the right page of each spread presents Give & Take in a large typeface that once again has me waxing nostalgic as it looks like (and lo and behold, on reading the colophon I learn that it is indeed) the type face used for ‘old timey’ playbills. From the colophon I learn that Give and Take was printed using Playbill wood type, found in the basement of a Seattle boxing ring.
Sher and Matt say:

That’s What You Write About – Give & Take” features two poems by renowned poet and author, Morton Marcus. While preserving the integrity of the author’s original text, the decision to marry these two poems and their respective titles creates a third poem in which urban and rural themes interact. This third poem focuses on the environmental impact of urban life.

C & C Press.In the Face of it.1
Although IN THE FACE OF IT from top view looks like a case bound book the spine is exposed, with the title printed vertically along the outer folds before the pages are folded and bound, making the title visible on the spreads between sections. Without a spine to interfere the book lies flat, inviting lengthy perusal of spreads that include multi-color printed woodblock images and text. Both the writings and original woodcuts are by poet and book artist Gary Young creating a serenity and flow throughout the book.
C & C Press.In the Face of it.2

Sher and Matt say:

IN THE FACE OF IT contains original poems and woodcuts by poet and book artist Gary Young of Greenhouse Review Press. The book is dedicated to Elizabeth Sanchez, Young’s close friend and mentor. His series of poems are a response to her death. The exposed spine sewing was chosen to the reveal the printed title. The registration of the print on the folds of the pages gradually ascends. The effect is that the reading experience visually reflects the temporal nature of the poet’s grieving process.

Click here to see the online catalog page for these books.

Sarah Bryant’s Fond – Recipient of Juror’s Purchase Award

The recipient of this year’s Juror Choice Purchase Award is Sarah Bryant’s book, Fond. Fond is available, along with Sarah’s other work, for purchase here.Sarah Bryant.Fond.1

Fond

is an investigation of our impulse to collect and preserve small, valueless objects. These objects help us create create a simple, personal narrative. A “fond” is a collection of documents organically accumulated by a person or institution. Using halftone photographs, color silhouettes, and a winding sinew of text, I constructed an abstracted and personal history of ten objects from my own collection.

Sarah Bryant Fond 3

The slim volume is housed in a duo-tone chemise of cloth the color of marigolds with grayish brown Zerkall paper strips overlaid at the head and tail. A label is on the lower right of the chemise’s front, arcing up at an angle from left to right. Intriguingly this label does not mention the title of the work, that tidbit is reserved for the book’s interior title page. Instead, the chemise label has this phrase “constitutes a piece of evidence about the past.” The book also lacks a spine label. The book’s front cover has another paper inset label with overlaying sentences printed in a light tone forming the background for the darker printed phrase “an account of an act or occurrence”. This label is in an organic shape (think lanceolate leaf shape) that repeats throughout the text block. The book is covered with tan book cloth, bound in a flat back drum leaf binding. As is consistently the case with Sarah’s work the book is impeccably designed, printed and bound.

Fond, at about 7×4 inches closed, is a wonderful size to hold in two hands. It functions well, a fact that is much appreciated in this case because text and image go across the gutters on each spread. The first several pages introduce the ten objects with narrative; the appendix or book legend (nearly as many pages as the narrative section) includes, along with an image of the object, its descriptive name, weight, material, place and year of acquisition. A helpful centimeter rule is also provided, printed along the left side of the appendix’s first spread.

Following the title page, the narrative section opens with an image that is a graphic shape of one of the 10 objects – the nut. We learn from the appendix that the nut was acquired in Prague in 2003 and weighs 5 grams. Sarah’s text begins: “The nut constitutes a piece of evidence about the past. It is the sum of past achieve…

That sentence continues on to the next page, alongside graphic and textual introductions to four more of the ‘fond’ objects. For each object the description is started on one spread and moves through the book, along with the continuation of the description of the other introduced objects. Turning the page gives introduction to three more objects, the next page the final two. The text visually weaves and overlaps just as these objects have layered and woven through Sarah’s recent years, The final page spread of this section has all the sentences converging into one dark block of inkiness. Turn the page and, a whisper of the book’s governing motivation “I recollect”.Sarah Bryant.Fond.2

Savoring this book involves moving back and forth from page to page, perhaps to pick up an earlier thread of a particular object’s tale and following it through; then paging back to begin the narrative about another object. The drum leaf binding, with its slightly stiffer pages, facilitates this forward/backward movement. The wonder is that, although there are so many stories overlapping, the book pages are spare and clean.

Fond is available, along with Sarah’s other work, for purchase here.

Casey Gardner – Books, Printing and Process

Casey Gardner Abecedarian
Casey Gardner, whose work is featured in the Reading Room through June 8, is the recipient of the 2012 Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award.

Gardner is a relative newcomer to the artists’ book field, having begun her study in 2006 at the California College of Art and Craft where she studied with Betsy Davids, Julie Chen and Macy Chadwick. Gardner hit the ground running and has been the recipient of several awards, her work held in dozens of private and publication collections throughout the US. She brings to her personal playing field a varied history, including downhill ski racing, extensive travel (supported by a variety of jobs, such as working in book stores), and a long stint in journalism. She now supports her book arts habit with work as a graphic designer at C+O Design.

Gardner etiquette 1a
Books, Printing and Process includes copies of all of her letterpress printed book editions to date, including her very first A Brief Encounter with Etiquette. Three of the ten books on display have garnered awards (Body of Inquiry, 2nd place SanDiego Book Arts Competition; I Wondered What it Might Ignite, Stephen Corey Award, Pacific Center for Book Arts and Why Go, Beyond Question, Winner of California College of the Arts Book Arts Award). In 2012 she was given the University of Washington’s Emerging Artist Award.

During Casey’s visit last week, I reveled in the chance to learn more about her multi-layered process. I learned, for example, that the spark for Body of Inquiry came decades before she had any inkling that she would enter the book arts field . While working as bookkeeper at a community school, she met and was enchanted by Edmund Scientific’s Torso Woman. She bought a Torso Woman of her own and carried it with her from that point forward. A version Torso Woman now lives front and center in Body of Inquiry – in Gardner’s version, she holds a codex that tells the story of a scientific journey inspired by her Edmund models.
Casey Gardner Torso woman

Casey has generously put on display various project notes, models and maquettes for her three most recent projects, Threshold, Body of Inquiry and HereSay (a collaboration with Nancy O’Banion). So although gallery visitors won’t have a chance to be charmed by Casey ‘in the flesh’ they will at least have a glimpse of the processes that take a small pencil sketch through multiple models and iterations and results in the finished Body of Inquiry.
Casey Gardner Body model
Casey Gardner Body models

Another maquette, for Threshold, shows how Casey works out the writing for her artists’ books. The maquette is accompanied by a hand-written note that states:

This maquette of Threshold shows a good example of HOW I write. In write in space. I don’t really begin to put words down until I know the context they will live in. Then I get all my ideas into that space and see how they feel and look and get along, and I distill and root around for the right words and clarify until I understand what it is I am trying to say. It’s a geographical process for me. I realize now why Journalism didn’t quite suite me: because all the words were always in columns.

Casey Gardner Threshold writing
Regarding process Casey states:

When I see the drafts and tentative models I have made for a project, I am curiously reassured. I see that though there isn’t a map to follow, eventually I arrive at my destination, and along the way, I visit regions never imagined. It is liberating to see the vast veering and experimentation as I search for a way to convey my ideas in book form.
In my work, I pursue pathways that may lead nowhere. Yet, as I try various trajectories, I experiment with the capabilities of materials, the evocations of form, the moods of language, and the interactions of color. This process distills my vision and tells me in tiny increments, where I am going in the work.
There are words everywhere on my drafts: notes to myself and questions about the story, the content, movement, sequence & desires. Language offers many divergent paths of meaning; its abstract and concrete qualities suggest borderlines to explore. My work is often instigated by the mutability of language+interpretation in various spatial contexts and frames of reference.
As I work, I search with uncertainty for some envisioned, yet unknown territory. This is why I make art — for the discoveries that occur amidst the journey of making. In my work, I desire to leave space for the reader to make their own discoveries.

Also on view are prints from Body of Inquiry, Threshold and HereSay. Click here for a partial listing of available works. Other works are available; please contact the gallery for details.

Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV

Joshua Orr.Deluge.2
This year’s Cornucopia exhibition once again brings a wide and rewarding variety of artists’ books to the gallery. I am gratified that so many artists working in this field continue to support Abecedarian by submitting work to our juried exhibitions. The Cornucopia exhibit has grown in status and scope, this year including works from throughout the United States as well as from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. One of my favorite aspects of the Cornucopia exhibits is that emerging artists exhibit alongside seasoned professionals in the field.

Jessica Spring.Printer's Blocks.1
This year’s juror, Mary Murphy, Visual Resources Librarian at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia, selected from nearly 200 entries the works that are on display. We had to ask that she limit her selection to fifty. This was quite a challenge as the quality of this year’s entries was consistently high.
Gail Smuda.Frances Sarah & Jack 2
We at the gallery are well pleased that most of the works in Cornucopia are displayed without protective cases, giving gallery visitors an opportunity to more closely scrutinize the riches that these books hold than is possible when books are exhibited in cases.
Ellen Knudson.Subject_Verb_Object.2
Unfortunately, most of Abecedarian’s patrons and fans rarely have a chance to visit the gallery. So we provide a lot of online options to view the works on display. I hope you’ll visit the following links, and check this blog often as each of the works in this exhibit will be featured in blog post at some point during the exhibition.

Online catalog

Purchase print or PDF catalog

Online image catalog

Photo Book Works Exhibition Award – Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli

Amandine Nabarra Piomelli Memories of Egypt1a

This year’s Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award for the Photo Book Works exhibit is awarded to a Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli. Amandine’s work will be featured in a solo exhibition in the gallery’s Reading Room in 2014.

In addition to working with the book form, Amandine works in photography and installation. She embraces the fact that the artists’ book can bring physical movement and create a tension to otherwise static images. Her work in both installation and books creates an interactive opportunity for her audience to view her photographs.

Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli lost and found2

Her work is primarily narrative; her image based narratives not text dependent. She photographs from a stance of curiosity about individual identities and how we all navigate through our world. Amandine’s skill is in presenting navigations not only in the physical realm, but in the realms of spirit, emotion, psychology and body. These visual journeys combine a poetic and documentary sensibility, each image contributing to a a story that may span across multiple projects or series. Amandine is skillful in drawing connection between people, places and objects in unexpected ways allowing her narratives to be both linear and fragmented.

Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli caretaker 2

Amandine treats the structure of her work as integral to the narrative, choosing supports that convert the concept of her projects. She is a gifted photographer and skillful craftswoman.

Amandine lives both in California and Italy. She has attained international recognition, exhibiting in the US, throughout Europe and Australia, with works held in prominent international collections such as Le Centre Pompidou in France, the Art Institute of Chicago and Bibliotheca Librorum Apud Aritificem, in Sydney, Australia.

Last year she was recipient of the Masquelibros prize in Madrid, Spain and Familiar Relics award in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. It is an honor and a pleasure to exhibit Amandine’s work and we are looking forward to seeing what shape her Reading Room installation will take.

You can learn more about her individual book works here.

Don Frank – The Qtip Project

During this years’ MOP (Month of Photography), Abecedarian is exhibiting The QTip series by Portland, Oregon photographer Don Frank.
Don Frank - QTip Project
For the series Don photographed fellow artists, each in front of the same back ground, and each diligently cleaning out their ears with a Qtip. As Don notes,

this is a private task that is advised against by people who know better than us.  But we do it anyway.

In the words of Katherine Head, writer/editor,

Everyone is photographable.  Everyone has a story to tell, and it can be relayed without words.  But sometimes there needs to be a distraction for the person to share the truth.  Hence, the Q-tip.  
Frank chose fellow artists to sit for the Q-tip project, 26 in all.  Despite the near identical setup, the resulting portraits are as different as each artist.  Some are whimsical, some are contemplative, some are mysterious.  But they are all interesting.  A seemingly banal task, a simple part of many people’s every day routine, yielded surprising art.

Don’s work was exhibited in the 2010 Biographic exhibition, curated by Denver’s Master Mind and Action Figure series host, Katie Taft.

Don and Katie will be hosting Musical Chairs, a participatory performance and discussion on photography, at Redline on March 24, 60pm.

Don will be at Abecedarian on Saturday, March 23. So please, come by and meet the artist, from 2-4pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Photo Book Works at Abecedarian

Louise Levergneux 1a

Photo Book Works is an international exhibition of artists’ books incorporating photographic imagery and/or processes as a primary element.

This is the third Photo Book Works exhibition Abecedarian has hosted and, although the exhibition’s parameters remain the same, the works in this show are more varied in approach and content than in exhibitions past.

Click here to view the online catalog of the exhibition.

The works in this exhibition do much to support the viewpoint that the physical, printed book is most emphatically not on its way out, as some loudly proclaim, but rather that the book as physical object remains and will remain a constant.
Frans Baake Aits and Ayots 1a

The exhibition is juried by Rupert Jenkins, a former letterpress compositor who is director of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, and also combines works from the collection of Abecedarian gallery director Alicia Bailey with selections from the holdings of private collector Carol Keller. Photo Book Works represents artists from the United States, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Argentina and Australia.

Juror Rupert Jenkins remarks:

“It doesn’t need to be said that books – in this case books sourced in photography – now come in varieties and forms hitherto unimagined. They always have, of course – hand painted and inked by monks, mass produced by German inventors, scrunched into pockets for reading underground, hand made, machine made, made in the cloud and delivered to your door in three days. Like all the most vividly creative collections, these particular works interpret our countless ways of seeing and experiencing the world, and they make us better for recognizing how varied and creative those individual worlds – our universe, so to speak – is seen to be.”

Charlene Asato Uluhe Tangle 1a

As Jenkins notes, the books in this show have one commonality – their innovative use of images in book form. Most noticeable to the gallery visitor are the varying strategies employed by the artists, who weave visual stories not just through their imagery, but through the diverse materials and structures they have chosen.
Amanda Watson-Will Like Weather1a

Some of these structures are comfortably familiar to the lay-person more used to a traditionally bound, linear approach to photography books. Others incorporate pop-ups, woven imagery, concertina folds, metallic surfaces, or loose objects to fully exploit the potential of marrying single images with the book form.
Francesca Phillips White Monks 1

Artists: Alex Appella, San Antonio de Arredondo, Cardoba, Argentina;
Amanda Watson-Will, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia;
Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli, Irvine, California;
Anne Lovett, New Paltz, New York;
Beth Uzwiak, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Bill Westheimer, West Orange New Jersey;
Charlene Asato, Mountain View, Hawaii
Elsi Vassdal Ellis, Bellingham, Washington;
Emily Artinien, Chicago, Illinois;
Ewa Monika, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
Francesca Phillips, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain;
Frans Baake, Enschede, The Netherlands;
Geirmundur Klein, Rotterdam, the Netherlands;
Hanne Niederhausen, Boca Raton, Florida;
Jane Simon, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia;
Joan MacDonald, Pine, Colorado;
Kevin Laubacher, Portland, Oregon,
Kristin Flanagan, Houston, Texas;
Laura Russell, Portland, Oregon;
Leah Oates, Brooklyn, New York;
Lila Pickus, Colorado Springs, CO;
Linda Morrow, Long Beach, California;
Lise Melhorn-Boe, Kingston, Ontario, Canada;
Louise Levergneux, South Jordan, Utah;
Michael Clements, Herefordshire, England, UK;
Michael Peven, Fayatteville, Arkansas;
Mirabelle Jones, San Francisco, California;
Paula Gillen, Boulder, Colorado;
Philip Zimmermann, Tucson, Arizona;
Shu-Ju Wang, Portland, Oregon;
Susan Brown, Anacortes, Washington;
Tara O’Brien, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Thomas Finke & Jean Buescher Bartlett, Denver, Colorado & Ann Arbor, Michigan