Narratives of the Possible: Artists’ Books

Featured image: “Tongue-tied” by Toni Mosley of Auckland, New Zealand

Introduction from exhibit curator, Mark E. Ritchie:

We all know what a book is, right? 

We generally think of a book as a vessel that contains words, sometimes images, is made of paper and usually presented in a codex format – a sewn or glued spine that assembles a group of pages to be experienced in a sequence. 

In the West, that sequence moves from left to right. Artists’ books harness these relationships, challenge them and sometimes engage other book traditions. A few artists in this exhibition use scrolls and accordion structures. Some of the artists include books that may have multiple sequence experiences, or open in unexpected ways, and are comprised of text, images and objects that engage with the sculptural aspects of being a book, but may not look like that thing we consider a book.

Several artists include older technologies such as filmstrips, slides, and cassette taped sound that also explore sequential narrative and storytelling, but again, are not that book we envision and may not be what we consider a book at all. In a digital age what is a book?  Is a physical book made of paper an obsolete technology?

As you explore the pieces in the exhibit, I urge you to consider what makes a book: is it the physical object or the narrative it contains?

To purchase the catalog for Narratives of the Possible, click here:

Aleta BraunAlicia Bailey
Andrea PrzygonskiCasey Gardner
Cerese VadenIan van Coller
Joseph LappieKatie Christensen
Kayla ClarkLisa Lofgren
Louise TaylorMarc Snyder
Maria LeeMarine Lahaix
Mark E. RitchieMarnie Powers-Torrey
Nick SatinoverSue Sommers
Toni MosleyVal Pexton

Enjoy this short video tour of a few pieces in the exhibit!

This video created and edited by library volunteer Zachary Allison.

Enjoy this virtual conversation between Mark Ritchie and the artists which took place on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Want to try your own hand at creating book art? Follow along with this virtual event as Mark Ritchie discusses the basics of book making. There are a limited number of book making kits available to take home from the 3rd floor Ask Here desk.

Enjoy this virtual artist talk with Casey Gardner which took place on Thursday, February 3, 2022. The talk took place in conjunction with the Narratives of the Possible exhibit traveling to the University of Wyoming Visual Arts Department and a class taught by curator Mark Ritchie.