Archive | 2013

Michelle Ray – recipient Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award

Michelle Ray.Three Ships.1

Each year, an artist is selected from the Artists’ Book Cornucopia exhibit for an exhibition award. Past recipient’s of this award include Casey Gardner (2012), Lise Melhorn-Boe (2011) and Sarah Vogel (2010).

I am pleased this year to announce that Michelle Ray is the recipient of the Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award. Her work will be featured in a solo Reading Room exhibition April 18 – June 7, 2014.

Michelle’s work has been included in several group exhibitions at Abecedarian, and most of her available work is in inventory at the gallery. Last year Michelle was awarded an MFA from the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. The consistent quality of the work I see coming out of that program is worthy of comment. Graduates of this program invariably produce work that is beautifully crafted, rich in content and effectively balances concept and content through thoughtful presentation and structure choices.

Of the many graduates from that program represented by Abecedarian Gallery, Michelle Ray has been among my favorites since my first viewing of her book The Kashash and the Archivist.

ABC11 Michelle Ray, The Kashash & the Archivist (2)

Much as enjoyed showing and placing this book, I was a bit bereft when it sold out. I had the luxury of musing over it countless times while it was in inventory, and found it warmly rewarding to introduce this book, along with other Ray titles, to my clients. I have continued to ponder its impact on me and have concluded that this title, along with several others Michelle has produced during her brief time in the book arts, remind me of the writing style of Annie Dillard. Annie Dillard with images. High praise indeed.

Ray has just finished up a residency at the Small Craft Advisory Press (a remarkable book arts/printing residency program affiliated with in Florida State University in Tallahasee), where she produced God Created the Sea and Painted it Blue so We’d Feel Good on it.

Michelle Ray God Created the Sea 1

I look forward to exhibiting her work next year.

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Casey Gardner – Books, Printing and Process

Casey Gardner Abecedarian
Casey Gardner, whose work is featured in the Reading Room through June 8, is the recipient of the 2012 Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award.

Gardner is a relative newcomer to the artists’ book field, having begun her study in 2006 at the California College of Art and Craft where she studied with Betsy Davids, Julie Chen and Macy Chadwick. Gardner hit the ground running and has been the recipient of several awards, her work held in dozens of private and publication collections throughout the US. She brings to her personal playing field a varied history, including downhill ski racing, extensive travel (supported by a variety of jobs, such as working in book stores), and a long stint in journalism. She now supports her book arts habit with work as a graphic designer at C+O Design.

Gardner etiquette 1a
Books, Printing and Process includes copies of all of her letterpress printed book editions to date, including her very first A Brief Encounter with Etiquette. Three of the ten books on display have garnered awards (Body of Inquiry, 2nd place SanDiego Book Arts Competition; I Wondered What it Might Ignite, Stephen Corey Award, Pacific Center for Book Arts and Why Go, Beyond Question, Winner of California College of the Arts Book Arts Award). In 2012 she was given the University of Washington’s Emerging Artist Award.

During Casey’s visit last week, I reveled in the chance to learn more about her multi-layered process. I learned, for example, that the spark for Body of Inquiry came decades before she had any inkling that she would enter the book arts field . While working as bookkeeper at a community school, she met and was enchanted by Edmund Scientific’s Torso Woman. She bought a Torso Woman of her own and carried it with her from that point forward. A version Torso Woman now lives front and center in Body of Inquiry – in Gardner’s version, she holds a codex that tells the story of a scientific journey inspired by her Edmund models.
Casey Gardner Torso woman

Casey has generously put on display various project notes, models and maquettes for her three most recent projects, Threshold, Body of Inquiry and HereSay (a collaboration with Nancy O’Banion). So although gallery visitors won’t have a chance to be charmed by Casey ‘in the flesh’ they will at least have a glimpse of the processes that take a small pencil sketch through multiple models and iterations and results in the finished Body of Inquiry.
Casey Gardner Body model
Casey Gardner Body models

Another maquette, for Threshold, shows how Casey works out the writing for her artists’ books. The maquette is accompanied by a hand-written note that states:

This maquette of Threshold shows a good example of HOW I write. In write in space. I don’t really begin to put words down until I know the context they will live in. Then I get all my ideas into that space and see how they feel and look and get along, and I distill and root around for the right words and clarify until I understand what it is I am trying to say. It’s a geographical process for me. I realize now why Journalism didn’t quite suite me: because all the words were always in columns.

Casey Gardner Threshold writing
Regarding process Casey states:

When I see the drafts and tentative models I have made for a project, I am curiously reassured. I see that though there isn’t a map to follow, eventually I arrive at my destination, and along the way, I visit regions never imagined. It is liberating to see the vast veering and experimentation as I search for a way to convey my ideas in book form.
In my work, I pursue pathways that may lead nowhere. Yet, as I try various trajectories, I experiment with the capabilities of materials, the evocations of form, the moods of language, and the interactions of color. This process distills my vision and tells me in tiny increments, where I am going in the work.
There are words everywhere on my drafts: notes to myself and questions about the story, the content, movement, sequence & desires. Language offers many divergent paths of meaning; its abstract and concrete qualities suggest borderlines to explore. My work is often instigated by the mutability of language+interpretation in various spatial contexts and frames of reference.
As I work, I search with uncertainty for some envisioned, yet unknown territory. This is why I make art — for the discoveries that occur amidst the journey of making. In my work, I desire to leave space for the reader to make their own discoveries.

Also on view are prints from Body of Inquiry, Threshold and HereSay. Click here for a partial listing of available works. Other works are available; please contact the gallery for details.

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Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV

Joshua Orr.Deluge.2
This year’s Cornucopia exhibition once again brings a wide and rewarding variety of artists’ books to the gallery. I am gratified that so many artists working in this field continue to support Abecedarian by submitting work to our juried exhibitions. The Cornucopia exhibit has grown in status and scope, this year including works from throughout the United States as well as from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. One of my favorite aspects of the Cornucopia exhibits is that emerging artists exhibit alongside seasoned professionals in the field.

Jessica Spring.Printer's Blocks.1
This year’s juror, Mary Murphy, Visual Resources Librarian at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia, selected from nearly 200 entries the works that are on display. We had to ask that she limit her selection to fifty. This was quite a challenge as the quality of this year’s entries was consistently high.
Gail Smuda.Frances Sarah & Jack 2
We at the gallery are well pleased that most of the works in Cornucopia are displayed without protective cases, giving gallery visitors an opportunity to more closely scrutinize the riches that these books hold than is possible when books are exhibited in cases.
Ellen Knudson.Subject_Verb_Object.2
Unfortunately, most of Abecedarian’s patrons and fans rarely have a chance to visit the gallery. So we provide a lot of online options to view the works on display. I hope you’ll visit the following links, and check this blog often as each of the works in this exhibit will be featured in blog post at some point during the exhibition.

Online catalog

Purchase print or PDF catalog

Online image catalog

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Photo Book Works Exhibition Award – Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli

Amandine Nabarra Piomelli Memories of Egypt1a

This year’s Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award for the Photo Book Works exhibit is awarded to a Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli. Amandine’s work will be featured in a solo exhibition in the gallery’s Reading Room in 2014.

In addition to working with the book form, Amandine works in photography and installation. She embraces the fact that the artists’ book can bring physical movement and create a tension to otherwise static images. Her work in both installation and books creates an interactive opportunity for her audience to view her photographs.

Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli lost and found2

Her work is primarily narrative; her image based narratives not text dependent. She photographs from a stance of curiosity about individual identities and how we all navigate through our world. Amandine’s skill is in presenting navigations not only in the physical realm, but in the realms of spirit, emotion, psychology and body. These visual journeys combine a poetic and documentary sensibility, each image contributing to a a story that may span across multiple projects or series. Amandine is skillful in drawing connection between people, places and objects in unexpected ways allowing her narratives to be both linear and fragmented.

Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli caretaker 2

Amandine treats the structure of her work as integral to the narrative, choosing supports that convert the concept of her projects. She is a gifted photographer and skillful craftswoman.

Amandine lives both in California and Italy. She has attained international recognition, exhibiting in the US, throughout Europe and Australia, with works held in prominent international collections such as Le Centre Pompidou in France, the Art Institute of Chicago and Bibliotheca Librorum Apud Aritificem, in Sydney, Australia.

Last year she was recipient of the Masquelibros prize in Madrid, Spain and Familiar Relics award in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. It is an honor and a pleasure to exhibit Amandine’s work and we are looking forward to seeing what shape her Reading Room installation will take.

You can learn more about her individual book works here.

Don Frank – The Qtip Project

During this years’ MOP (Month of Photography), Abecedarian is exhibiting The QTip series by Portland, Oregon photographer Don Frank.
Don Frank - QTip Project
For the series Don photographed fellow artists, each in front of the same back ground, and each diligently cleaning out their ears with a Qtip. As Don notes,

this is a private task that is advised against by people who know better than us.  But we do it anyway.

In the words of Katherine Head, writer/editor,

Everyone is photographable.  Everyone has a story to tell, and it can be relayed without words.  But sometimes there needs to be a distraction for the person to share the truth.  Hence, the Q-tip.  
Frank chose fellow artists to sit for the Q-tip project, 26 in all.  Despite the near identical setup, the resulting portraits are as different as each artist.  Some are whimsical, some are contemplative, some are mysterious.  But they are all interesting.  A seemingly banal task, a simple part of many people’s every day routine, yielded surprising art.

Don’s work was exhibited in the 2010 Biographic exhibition, curated by Denver’s Master Mind and Action Figure series host, Katie Taft.

Don and Katie will be hosting Musical Chairs, a participatory performance and discussion on photography, at Redline on March 24, 60pm.

Don will be at Abecedarian on Saturday, March 23. So please, come by and meet the artist, from 2-4pm. Light refreshments will be served.

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Photo Book Works at Abecedarian

Louise Levergneux 1a

Photo Book Works is an international exhibition of artists’ books incorporating photographic imagery and/or processes as a primary element.

This is the third Photo Book Works exhibition Abecedarian has hosted and, although the exhibition’s parameters remain the same, the works in this show are more varied in approach and content than in exhibitions past.

Click here to view the online catalog of the exhibition.

The works in this exhibition do much to support the viewpoint that the physical, printed book is most emphatically not on its way out, as some loudly proclaim, but rather that the book as physical object remains and will remain a constant.
Frans Baake Aits and Ayots 1a

The exhibition is juried by Rupert Jenkins, a former letterpress compositor who is director of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, and also combines works from the collection of Abecedarian gallery director Alicia Bailey with selections from the holdings of private collector Carol Keller. Photo Book Works represents artists from the United States, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Argentina and Australia.

Juror Rupert Jenkins remarks:

“It doesn’t need to be said that books – in this case books sourced in photography – now come in varieties and forms hitherto unimagined. They always have, of course – hand painted and inked by monks, mass produced by German inventors, scrunched into pockets for reading underground, hand made, machine made, made in the cloud and delivered to your door in three days. Like all the most vividly creative collections, these particular works interpret our countless ways of seeing and experiencing the world, and they make us better for recognizing how varied and creative those individual worlds – our universe, so to speak – is seen to be.”

Charlene Asato Uluhe Tangle 1a

As Jenkins notes, the books in this show have one commonality – their innovative use of images in book form. Most noticeable to the gallery visitor are the varying strategies employed by the artists, who weave visual stories not just through their imagery, but through the diverse materials and structures they have chosen.
Amanda Watson-Will Like Weather1a

Some of these structures are comfortably familiar to the lay-person more used to a traditionally bound, linear approach to photography books. Others incorporate pop-ups, woven imagery, concertina folds, metallic surfaces, or loose objects to fully exploit the potential of marrying single images with the book form.
Francesca Phillips White Monks 1

Artists: Alex Appella, San Antonio de Arredondo, Cardoba, Argentina;
Amanda Watson-Will, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia;
Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli, Irvine, California;
Anne Lovett, New Paltz, New York;
Beth Uzwiak, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Bill Westheimer, West Orange New Jersey;
Charlene Asato, Mountain View, Hawaii
Elsi Vassdal Ellis, Bellingham, Washington;
Emily Artinien, Chicago, Illinois;
Ewa Monika, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
Francesca Phillips, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain;
Frans Baake, Enschede, The Netherlands;
Geirmundur Klein, Rotterdam, the Netherlands;
Hanne Niederhausen, Boca Raton, Florida;
Jane Simon, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia;
Joan MacDonald, Pine, Colorado;
Kevin Laubacher, Portland, Oregon,
Kristin Flanagan, Houston, Texas;
Laura Russell, Portland, Oregon;
Leah Oates, Brooklyn, New York;
Lila Pickus, Colorado Springs, CO;
Linda Morrow, Long Beach, California;
Lise Melhorn-Boe, Kingston, Ontario, Canada;
Louise Levergneux, South Jordan, Utah;
Michael Clements, Herefordshire, England, UK;
Michael Peven, Fayatteville, Arkansas;
Mirabelle Jones, San Francisco, California;
Paula Gillen, Boulder, Colorado;
Philip Zimmermann, Tucson, Arizona;
Shu-Ju Wang, Portland, Oregon;
Susan Brown, Anacortes, Washington;
Tara O’Brien, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Thomas Finke & Jean Buescher Bartlett, Denver, Colorado & Ann Arbor, Michigan

Emerging Artist Exhibition Series – January 2013

Since opening in 2007, Abecedarian Gallery has featured emerging artists work each January. Although the gallery’s ongoing commitment to working with emerging artists will continue, this is the last exhibit in the Emerging Artist exhibition series.

This January (January 4 through February 2) works of Andrea Crane, Janelle Anderson and Whitney Stephens will be on view. Although all three of the Denver area artists work with drawing, their works are stylistically and conceptually different. The exhibit overall is a rich and exciting presentation of contemporary drawing.

About the artists:

Andrea_Crane_Stroller
Andrea Crane received a teaching certificate in Art Education from Metropolitan State University in Denver and is now teaching at Graland Country Day School in Denver. She is a mixed media artist who uses a variety of techniques to create smaller scaled works of art that are typically inspired by personal events.

Scattered Photos is a series of mixed media collages Andrea began while thinking about the lifespan of old family photos. She finds that although some may find looking at photos redundant and boring, she never never tires of looking at a photo. The series is inspired by family photographs, but does not utilize photographic imagery. them new life. The images, that depict brothers and sisters as children, are re-worked and given new life.

Janelle_Anderson_Free_Fall

Janelle W. Anderson earned her BFA in Painting from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2011. She is an associate member of Pirate: Contemporary Art and works at Studio 12 Gallery. Primarily drawn with graphite and colored pencil on mylar, Anderson’s work focuses on the human condition and the ephemeral. Her works are stark, yet often quiet and chilling, using mostly a monochromatic palate high in contrast.

Free/Fall is a series of drawings on mylar that combine images of multiple views of a subject layered on top of one another creating an abstracted, yet recognizable form. Placed against a backdrop of empty space, the figures hover in limbo amongst a haze of striations stretching to and from. The small scale of these works draws the viewer in close to reflect in a moment of stillness. Although there are no human figurative depictions in this series, Free/Fall references the ephemeral while drawing parallels to the human condition.

Whitney_Stephens_Haze

Whitney Stephens graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in 2012 with a BFA in Illustration & Fine Art. Her flat, often decorative style draws from her interest in folk & primitive art, but lends itself to more contemporary imagery & themes ranging from biology to fashion.

In this series of work Stephens utilized methods often used by Surrealists and Dadaists such as collage, photomontage, automatism, and games including ‘exquisite corpse’ to focus on design. The resulting pieces are patterned, decorative works intended for printing on fabric.

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