FROM THE WEST (April 28, 2014 – July 31, 2014)
This exhibition features the work of some of the finest book artists currently working today in the western United States or Canada. Although the works vary considerably, from codices to sculptural objects, they all share the characteristic of fine craftsmanship and, when needed, fine engineering. This exhibition is intended to be a survey of the best work still available for purchase by some of the best working artists in this medium.
All of the books in this exhibition are available for viewing on this website or in person at our studio at 260 E. Chestnut Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. To see a photograph of the installation of this exhibition, click here or scroll to the bottom of this page. To make arrangements to visit From the West or to see any of our inventory at any time please see our About page or click here.
Cissy Ross is a writing instructor at the University of California – Santa Barbara. In this poem, illustrated with manipulated images of gothic type from an incunable, she writes about a modern day Eve searching for faith in everyday life.
This book, through the poetry of former poet laureate W.S. Merwin, the drawings of two native Americans, and the skillful design and printing of Carolee Campbell, captures the sobering beauty of the Plains Indians ledger book.
Alan Loney is a fine press printer and poet who has collaborated with Carolee Campbell to produce this rugged work of original poems exploring the mythical and dangerous “song that thrills the song that kills…to the graveyard of the soundless sound.”
In this publication Tarn explores the Greek myth of Persephones, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Coupled with the striking verbal images of the poetry are Carolee Campbell’s own hand-painted folios, thus making this an edition of unique copies.
Breytenbach is a South African born in 1939 in Cape Town and jailed for seven years in the seventies for being a white opponent of the apartheid regime. In this volume with Carolee Campbell, Breytenbach uses a long prose poem to explore the relationship between human emotions and feelings and the landscape from which they receive their context.
This work was created with the artist’s Ideation Cards, an earlier work produced in collaboration with Barbara Tetenbaum. These cards comprise both specifications for a book’s material construction and fifty-four descriptive adjectives (including three wild cards). This remarkably beautiful sculptural book, displayable both linearly and circularly, is the surprising result of Chen’s own random drawing.
With this book Julie Chen encourages the reader to “start anywhere” and “immerse yourself in the process.” The book includes a complex binding structure and several movable mechanisms illustrating the colorful revelations possibly growing out of a creative process.
This book, in the artist’s words, is “an exploration about the perception of the world beyond a person’s immediate physical experience.” Its innovative structure permits a reader to examine the text and illustrations in a manner of the reader’s choosing, or in a manner that’s entirely random.
In this volume artist and author Charles Hobson imagines a journal kept by Edgar Dégas on an actual trip Dégas made to Rome in 1857 at the age of twenty-three. The text is accompanied by Hobson’s own drawings after Dégas and by reproductions from Dégas’ sketchbook.
In her Against Love Poetry (2001), Boland sought to escape the effusive courtliness or previous European love poems and to embrace the love of “dailiness,” or the ordinariness that provides much of the beauty in most peoples’ lives. Quarantine is a profoundly moving poem from this collection.
This book is a short story based on a concept developed by Sandra and Charles Hobson in which a young mother comforts her son with a story of self-confidence and baseball. It is accompanied by a 4” x 5” original print of a baseball made and signed by Charles Hobson.
Containing fifteen rituals organized along six themes — birthdays, weddings, giving birth, relationships, home, and journeys — drawn from Ms. Hobson’s travels among a variety of indigenous cultures.
Hobson, Charles. NELSON & EMMA: APHRODITE AND ARES CONTEMPLATE ADMIRAL NELSON AND LADY HAMILTON. San Francisco: Pacific Editions. 2008.
This book explores the themes of love and war from the dual perspectives first of gods, viz., Aphrodite and Ares, and then of the mortals, viz., Nelson and Emma.
The design and the six relief prints in this book, all from artist and printer Peter Koch, reflect the theme of the book’s eight poems by former American Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin who writes about darkness, night, and invisibility, not morosely but as a source of dreamlike restfulness.
Paul Bowles, the composer, writer, and translator, lived in Tangier, Morocco, from 1947 until his death in 1999. He began an association with artist Ira Yeager when the artist moved into the same Tangier apartment building. This book comprises twenty previously unpublished letters from Bowles to Yeager, eight original relief prints hand colored by Yeager, and one original oil and acrylic painting by Yeager set into the cover.
The idea for this book originated with an exhibition at the Missoula Art Museum held to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition with the Shoshone guide called Sacajewea. The book itself, with its poetic reinvention of her life and with the haunting sepia-toned photographs chosen by Peter Koch, became the subject of another exhibition at the same museum in 2011.
This book beautifully shows the wanderings of artist Richard Wagener from Los Angeles, where he was born, to the San Jacinto Mountains, the Antelope Valley, Sonoma County, the Sierra Nevada, and back to L.A.
In this book, with a title playing on the barely visible trademarks in handmade paper, Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky meditates on the Venice of the twentieth century. The book is dedicated by the poet to his friend and artist Robert Morgan who provided fourteen photogravures as illustrations of the text.
[ Koch, Peter and Richard Wagener ] Parmenides. Robert Bringhurst, trans. THE FRAGMENTS OF PARMENIDES & AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION. Berkeley: Editions Koch. 2004.
This stunning bilingual edition of this philosophical poem features twenty fragments translated by Robert Bringhurst. It has five color wood engravings by Richard Wagener. Each opening features the original Greek set in a typeface designed by Dan Carr at Golgonooza Letter Foundry and the cover features a digital Greek typeface designed by Christopher Stinehour.
In this edition of the prose poem Iskandariya, poet Brigit Pegeen Kelly has collaborated with artist Briony Morrow-Cribbs and the Rollin Milroy at the Heavenly Monkey press to produce a small but thoroughly lovely work.
While inspired by a nineteenth century novel and a recent installation by the artist at Reed College in Portland, this work is firmly rooted in the art historical traditions of the Twentieth Century.
This book is a collaboration between Barbara Tetenbaum and Julie Chen about the transformation of life experiences into narrative form. One set of text is written by Julie Chen on hinged sleeves and another set of text is written by Barb Tetenbaum on cards inserted into the sleeves.
Tetenbaum, Barbara. EMPTINESS IS NOT NOTHING. DIE LEERE IST NICHT NICHTS. Leipzig: Triangular Press. 2009.
A visual representation of Heidegger’s 1969 seminal essay on sculpture Art and Space, this hand-painted screenprint addresses the abstruse and difficult meaning of Heidegger’s aesthetic theories.
Presenting both an idealized and a critical view of travel to foreign lands, this dos á dos bound book captures the dichotomy presented by wanderlust: in the first section, picture postcard scenes of exotic locales are, in the second section, juxtaposed against actual scenes taken from or in a jet airplane.
The unusual size and shape of this autobiographical book, its use of vibrant color and metallic ink, its edgy imagery, and the pointed reference in the title to high tension power lines all suggest an electrically charged explosion.
In his artist’s statement about this book Clifton Meador says he wanted to create a reading experience that would mimic a performance sculpture which would require the reader actively to manipulate the book in order to read it. The images for this book were made entirely from hand-cut templates and painted with spray paint, applied individually by the artist to each copy.
This truly remarkable book has attracted much critical attention. In The Library of Congress Rare Books and Special Collections: An Illustrated Guide (1992), the book was cited as an example of the boundless creativity contemporary artists’ books have embraced. It is devoid of text and printed image, relying solely upon the movement of strings through die-cut holes.
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