Center for Book Arts is delighted to announce the exhibition Visual Volumes: Contemporary Explorations in Book Arts. This group show features artist-made books that embody interdisciplinary approaches to creative book practices by Roni Aviv, Tsohil Bhatia, Sarah Moody, Rodrigo Moreira, Vanessa Sandoval and Gwen Smith.
The featured works in the exhibition exemplify a rich range of subjects and printing techniques. Themes addressed include the invisibility of pain, the nature of migration, genealogy and kinship, the ecological crisis, and the meta-narrative of artists’ books, among others. These artists participated in Center for Book Arts’ residency programs during the period of 2021-2022. Center for Book Arts’ Residency program offers artists transformative opportunities with 24/7 studio access, tuition waivers, and support to develop their work throughout the year.
While the artists’ practices encompass a broad spectrum of disciplines, they collectively utilize the book as a medium to convey conceptual dialogues, while also questioning the very essence of its traditional form. Visual Volumes: Contemporary Explorations in Book Arts invites you to explore the multifaceted nature of the book as an artistic tool and engage with the innovative ideas presented by these talented artists.
About the works
How do you decide what is real beyond vision? A series of black and white photographs, I borrow the visual appearance of early photographic movement studies. As I change my hand gestures I move between prolonged pain, extended stretch and momentary relief. A unique silver gelatin photogram book. In the book the original text describes the visual cues of unmanaged invisible pain. The materiality of the work mimics how information moves in and out of focus and consciousness.
Waters from shores unnamed contends with the complexity of the impulse to bring ocean waters together in one place as well as their naming and demarcations. Some water is returned through an evaporative ritual and some more finds rest in a painting.
The Department of NSA (No Strings Attached). The video reveals the Department of NSA (No Strings Attached)’s activities focusing on hand gestures of a supposed officer while interacting with immigrants at the border, collecting data, and reviewing records.
The gallery is a vessel for the artist who is a vessel for art which is a vessel for spectatorship and contemplation, but for what purpose? These works comprise a meta-narrative that combines zinemaking, fine press, performative letterforms, and exploratory bookmaking into the reflection of a year.
A FOREST revolves around the idea that the world I wish to inhabit is disappearing. Through collecting names of endangered species, particularly trees, I recognize that these names may be the only remnants of their existence in the future. Surprisingly, this accumulation of words has transformed into representations of ghosts, leading me to view listing as an act of resurrection and an attempt at reproduction—a creation of a forest from its ghosts.
Gwen Smith’s The Black Women Project is a collection of her painted portraits of renowned Black Women. The project began in 2018 when Smith set out her creative journey after spending the previous 13 years as a full time mother. Smith took selfies to reference each time she entered her studio, creating a rhythm by merging her identity as a Black Woman with her subjects. Some of the women Smith chooses to paint are artists, scientists, educators, politicians, writers, poets and performers. All are respected by Smith and provide the impetus for her ongoing self-exploration. (Vol. 1 & 2) were published in 2020 and sold as a 2 Volume set. Since then Smith has continued the project producing 100 more paintings that make up (Vol. 3). In this exhibition Smith presents the complete (Vol. 3)- a grid of 100 original paintings. As Smith originally intended for the work to be exhibited as one unit outside of the book form.