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This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the February 5, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Thrillers in Word & Image
Some bibliophiles believe there’s a circle of Hell
reserved for those who write in the margins of books. And for those
who dismember them — something worse. But this doesn’t worry the
14 artists being showcased at Rider University in the exhibition "Altered
Books: Spine Bending Thrillers," in the University Art Gallery,
Thursday, February 6, through Thursday, March 6. The opening reception
for the show is Thursday, February 6 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Curated by Karen McDermott of South Orange, the exhibit features artists
from across the country all united by their interest in using commercially-produced
books as a medium for art. The show includes works by Sarah Stengle
of Princeton, Maria Pisano of Plainsboro, and Liz Mitchell of Pittstown.
Also featured are Maria Anasazi, Harriet Bart, Doug Beube, Kerrie
Carbary, Patricia Carter, Byron Clercx, Beth Cote, Penny Dimos, Sandra
Jackman, Liz Mitchell, Pamela Paulsrud, and Miriam Schaer.
In a telephone interview from her home studio, McDermott describes
herself as an artist and educator who has become immersed in all manifestations
of book arts. She has taught bookbinding, calligraphy, and book design,
as well as printmaking and courses on creating artists’ books. McDermott
is founder and director of the Book Arts Roundtable, a 140-member
group that meets monthly in South Orange to make books, share workshops,
teach classes, and work on collaborative books with a theme. "We
are here for anyone who can’t resist the feel of paper, the wonder
of books, and the excitement of creativity," she says.
This is the first show in the area devoted exclusively
to the altered book that McDermott she knows of. An accompanying catalog
includes introductions by McDermott and Rider University gallery director
Harry Naar, as well as an image and statement by each of the show’s
14 artists. Rider students from Naar’s gallery management course have
also been involved in the exhibition process, helping to select and
hang the exhibition.
"With `Altered Books: Spine Bending Thrillers’ I wanted to bring
together a group of artists working with the book in unique and wonderful
ways," says McDermott. "The 14 artists presented here all
work with books that have been discarded or forgotten and abandoned.
The books have become their canvas, or framework, manipulated and
changed to tell another story. Sometimes the story relates to the
text already provided and sometimes the book is used as an object,
the raw material for a sculptural work."
Although artists’ books are a more familiar art genre, McDermott says
she wanted to focus only on altered books.
"To alter the book — to take the book apart and re-make it
— is something quite recent." She traces a key moment to a
1966 project by British artist Tom Phillips. "Although it has
been done for 20 or 30 years, there is much more activity recently
focused on taking the abandoned book using it to create a work of
art," says McDermott, who reports that a Yahoo internet group
called "Altered Books" currently has more than 2,000 members.
"A lot of people can’t fathom the idea of taking a book apart,"
she continues, adding that viewers’ reactions may range from shock
to mystification. For this reason she asked each participating artist
to respond to the thought that, while the book has been around for
hundreds of years, why are we now using the book as medium of expression?
The results that will be seen in the exhibition range from small,
portable artworks to the big installation piece by Doug Beube that
comprises hundreds of loose signatures spread out like dominoes on
the gallery floor. The seven-foot long work is called "Tract"
and, as McDermott notes, "it has a gastrointestinal feel to it."
What do we do with the plethora of unwanted books, asks Beube. "As
an inexpensive medium, the hardcover and pocket book, objects that
are familiar and unadorned, are transformed into something useful
Miriam Schaer of Brooklyn writes in her gallery statement: "Books
are routinely transformed in ways more destructive than anything artists’
commit. Publishers shred mountains of remaindered volumes, best-sellers
included, they can no longer sell. Libraries de-accession or discard
books they can no longer house. Pulped fiction is the end product
of too many Pulp Fictions."
Artist Sandra Jackman was warned by her mother to never mutilate a
book, but this was a rule, she says, "that fell on deaf ears."
Her imperative as an artist is "to take something made for the
masses and transform into a unique art object."
Maria Pisano bases her "Requiem for the Book" on an old encyclopedia,
"a discarded book of knowledge. . . This old friend is now outdated
but not dead," she writes. "I commiserate the destruction
of these books by reinterpreting and paying my respect to that artifact
we have all grown up with — the book. . . I have given the book
a new identity and imbued it with a new aura and new meaning."
— Nicole Plett
Art Gallery , Student Center, Lawrenceville, 609-895-5589. Opening
reception for exhibition of "Altered Books: Spine Bending Thrillers,"
curated by Karen McDermott. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday,
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Show runs to March
6. Free. Thursday, February 6, 5 to 7 p.m.
609-924-6700. "Water," a show featuring the work of Princeton
photographer Susan Hockaday. The large abstract, color photographs
feature subject matter from the landscape in Nova Scotia, where she
lives in the summer. She photographs drawings under water in tidal
pools to produce meticulously printed photographs that become a lyrical
pattern of shimmering light. Open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To February
Last, Memory Yields," an exhibition of photography and mixed-media
works by artist and architect Christopher Becker. Open by appointment
during school hours. To February 7.
Traditional and contemporary Chinese paintings by Seow-Chu See. A
member of the Garden State Watercolor Society, her work has been shown
in group and solo exhibits throughout the area. To March 19.
609-252-6275. "Hidden Threads," a show featuring six New Jersey
textile artists, each working with the medium in a different way.
Soyoo Park Caltabiano, Nancy Staub Laughlin, Patricia Malarcher, Joy
Saville, Armando Sosa, and Erma Martin Yost are featured. Open Monday
to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends, 1 to 5 p.m. To March 16.
609-397-2226. "Simple Pleasures," a solo exhibition of etchings,
engravings, watercolor illustrations, pen and ink and tile by Carol
Chernack. Dinner served Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays to 10 p.m. Open Sundays, 5 to 9 p.m. To February
Street, Lambertville, 609-397-0804. Lambertville Historical Society’s
23d annual juried art exhibition, "Lambertville and the Surrounding
Area." Juror is Mel Leipzig. The show’s eight award-winning artists
are Tom Birkner, W. Carl Burger, Vincent Ceglia, Marge Chavooshian,
Alexander Farnham, Bryan Fisher, Robert Sakson, and Luiz Vilela. Gallery
hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To March 16.
Exhibition of new oils by Jan Lipes of Solebury. Gallery hours are
Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To
6 Lilly Street, 609-397-0275. Show celebrates the re-naming of the
former ABC Gallery. "Works by Michael and Peggy Lewis: From the
1940s to the 1980s" features paintings and drawings by 84-year-old
Peggy Lewis and the late Michael Lewis. Gallery hours are Monday to
Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. To February 7.
the Unseen: Abstract Photography, 1900 to 1940," to March 23.
"The Arts of Asia: Works in the Permanent Collection" to June
30. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to
5 p.m. Highlights tours every Saturday at 2 p.m.
609-258-3184. "Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders, and Book
Designers," a Milberg Gallery exhibition curated by Rebecca Warren
Davidson. To March 30.
School, 609-258-1651. "Africa’s Lunatics," a photography show
by French photographer Vincent Fougere that depicts how Africa cares
for and treats its mentally ill. After a childhood spent in the Ivory
Coast, Fougere spent eight years traveling across Africa to photograph
its bruised souls. Opening reception is Friday, February 7. Gallery
hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To March 21.
609-771-2198. The juried National Printmaking Exhibition. Gallery
hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.;
and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. To February 19.
West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Organics," a shared
show of recent works by Illia Barger and Jim Toia. The artists have
created a collaborative installation work in the gallery. Open Tuesday
to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday evenings 6 to 8 p.m.; Thursday
evenings 7 to 9 p.m. To February 20.
609-620-6026. In the Hutchins Gallery, "Crossing Borders: The
Photographs of Barbara Beirne," on view to March 4. Opening reception
is Friday, February 7, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Gallery hours, Monday to Friday,
9 a.m. to noon; and 1 to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m.
Solo show by Matthew Bakkom of Amsterdam. Open Monday to Friday, 9
a.m. to 3 p.m. To February 14.
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Fabrications," an exhibition
of textiles by fabric artist Carol Sara Schepps. Reception February
21, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. To March 14.
"My artwork examines the light, reflection, and complex elements
that make up otherwise common objects," says the artist. "By
unfolding the relationship of lights, darks, and color, I break down
an image and translate it into a melange of fabric and construction
908-218-8876. "Five Artists: New Jersey State Council on the Arts
2002 Fellowship Winners from RVCC" featuring visual artists Christopher
Koep, Jennifer Mazza, Larry McKim, Lynn Mullins, and Gary DiBenedetto,
who teaches music technology. Artists’ talk and reception is Friday,
February 14, 5 to 8 p.m. Open Monday 3 to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, noon to
3 p.m.; Wednesday, 1 to 8 p.m., and Thursday, noon to 3 p.m. To February
Brunswick, 732-932-7237. "George Segal: Sculpture, Paintings,
and Drawings from the Artist’s Studio;" to May 26. Also: "Russian
Cover Design, 1920s to 1930s: The Graphic Face of the Post-Revolutionary
and Stalinist Periods"; to March 30. "Sergei Paradjanov Off
Camera: Collages, Assemblages, and Objects," to March 16. Open
Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m. Spotlight tours every Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m. Admission
$3 adults; under 18 free; and free on the first Sunday of every month.
Three-man show features woodcuts and intaglio prints by Wendell Brooks,
and sculpture by Johnson Atelier staff member Michael Gyampo, and
his son, Michael Gyampo Jr. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3
p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To February 23.
609-586-0616. Fall/Winter Exhibition. In the Museum, new work by glass
artist Dale Chihuly, to April 6. In the Domestic Arts Building "Focus
on Sculpture 2003," an annual juried exhibition of photographs
by amateur photographers. Juror is Hope R. Proper of the Perkins Center
for the Arts. On view to April 6.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday
is Members Day. Adult admission is $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7
Friday and Saturday; and $10 Sunday. Individual memberships start
Shared show features "Along China’s Silk Road" by David H.
Miller, and "October in Provence" by Ingeborg Snipes. Gallery
hours are Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment.
To February 9.
Wildlife and nature photographs by Andrew Chen, a veteran nature photographer
whose work has been published in "North American Birds." To
February 23. @HEAD 14 = Area Museums
New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "From the Old World to the New World,"
recent additions to the collection featuring works by nine Hungarian
Americans who emigrated to the U.S. between 1920 and 1957. Artists
are Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bertha and Elena De Hellenbranth, Sandor Sugor,
Emil Kelemen, Willy Pogany, Tibor Gergely, Zoltan Poharnok, and Vincent
Korda. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and
Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $5 donation. Through April.
732-745-4177. "Uncommon Clay: New Jersey’s Architectural Terra
Cotta Industry," an exhibition of artifacts and written and oral
histories of New Jersey’s once booming architectural ceramics industry.
Open Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.
To May 30.
908-735-8415. "2003 Annual Members Exhibition," juror Rocio
Aranda-Alvarado of Jersey City Museum. "Drawings by John Patterson:
Process, Reveries, and Accumulations." Open Tuesday to Sunday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To March 8.
609-292-6464. "Cultures in Competition: Indians and Europeans
in Colonial New Jersey," a show that traces the impact of European
settlement on the native Indians’ way of life after 1600. On extended
view: "Art by African-Americans: A Selection from the Collection;"
"New Jersey’s Native Americans: The Archaeological Record;"
"Delaware Indians of New Jersey;" "The Sisler Collection
of North American Mammals;" "Of Rock and Fire;" "Neptune’s
Architects;" "The Modernists;" "New Jersey Ceramics,
Silver, Glass and Iron;" "Historical Archaeology of Colonial
New Jersey;" "Washington Crossing the Delaware."
215-340-9800. "Randall Exon: A Quiet Light," a solo show by
the Philadelphia-area painter and Swarthmore College professor; to
April 27. "A Home of Our Own," a show that commemorates Levittown’s
50th anniversary featuring the contemporary photographs of Jean Klatchko
and vintage objects from the State Museum; to April 13. Winter hours:
Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission $6 adults; $3 students and children.
for its 2003 summer season featuring "The Comedy of Errors"
and "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (June 27 to August 16), on
Saturday, February 15, from noon to 7 p.m. E-mail your photo and resume
to PRCRepRap@aol.com or fax to 609-921-3962; actors will be contacted
with audition appointment and location. Prepare two 90-second monologues,
one classical comic and one contemporary. Company seeks experienced
classical actors with strong comic instincts. Also seeking versatile
actors who sing and dance hip-hop, jazz, free-style, and acrobatics.
Those actors should prepare a song and be ready to move. Minority
actors strongly encouraged to apply. Housing available. This call
is for non-Equity actors only. (Equity auditions take place on date
in February TBA.) Equity actors please submit your photo and resume
to e-mail above or mail to Princeton Rep Company, One Palmer Square,
Suite 541, Princeton 08542. Phone 609-921-3682.
for its 2003/2004 season on Saturday, February 22, at 2 p.m., at 243
North Union Street. Roxey is offering professional and apprentice
contracts for a 30+ week season. Contracts awarded in May will begin
in September, 2003. RBC repertory includes 30 original works. Professional
artists interested in auditioning should forward a head shot, resume,
video, and two letters of recommendation to Box 251, Stockton, 08559.
and arts in its community with the second annual Lawrence Arts & Music
Festival, Saturday, May 10. Professional and amatuer artists, musicians,
dancers, sculptures, actors and playwrights, and poets are invited
to apply. Call Steve Groeger, recreation director, Lawrence Town Hall,
offers Singing Valentines at home, office, restaurant, or group meeting
on February 11 to 15, for $50. Price includes two songs in four-part
harmony, Valentine card, chocolate treat, silk rose, and photo of
the recipient with the quartet. Call Anita Barry, 908-874-3079.
and movement and art for children with autism or autistic behavior
beginning on Saturday, February 8, in New Brunswick, Morristown, and
Waldwick. There is no cost for the ten weekly sessions. Call Karen
Singer at 732-745-3885.
arts program with lectures, discussion, and concert, for those interested
in the interplay between music, Scripture, and poetry on healing and
wholeness. Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1. $80. Call
until Friday, March 7. Fresh-cut bunches of daffodils are $7 and the
official Daffodil Days Vase is $8. Pick-up is during the week of March
24 at Princeton Flower Shop, 231 Bakers Basin Road, Lawrenceville.
Free delivery is available for orders of $100 or more. Call 800-ACS-2345.
Monday to Friday, February 10 to 14, at Quaker Bridge Mall. Call 609-799-8177.
seek volunteer tutors to help foreign graduate students, visiting
scholars, and their spouses improve their conversational English.
Tutors are matched for at least one year and meet for an hour a week.
Call Hanna Hand at 609-258-1170.
during the summer. For information visit www.freshair.org or call
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