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?

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.