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.

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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

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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.”

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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.
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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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Modest in Scale award recipient Wendy Kowynia

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Mixed-media artist Wendy Kowynia is one of four recipients of the Modest in Scale exhibition awards. Included in the exhibit are two pieces from her Iterations Series. In this work Wendy explores material, technique, and technology. She is using paper yarns of linen, bamboo, pine and silk, painted and dyed that are knotted, woven, twined and laced on a loom.

Iteration is the essential act of weaving; to do again and again and again, with each completion coming more closely to the desired result. Wendy finds solace in this requirement of her chosen medium: the work evolves out of this simple dedication to repetition.

About her work Wendy says:

As an artist working in textiles, my work has an inherent element of surface; I create the surface, and the surface becomes the art. The Iteration Series is woven in linen, the painter’s traditional canvas.

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Iteration 11 is painted with oil stick on the warp threads, then woven. Iteration 12 is knotted paper yarn.

In 1983 Wendy apprenticed for a year with her mother, an accomplished weaver. When she sat down at the loom, she knew she could

“do this forever and never be finished. 30 years later, this is still true.“

Wendy Kowynia has lived and worked in Steamboat Springs since 1991. Her career in textiles began in 1983. Wendy completed her BS degree from Smith College in 1982, where she majored in studio art, with a focus in painting. I am looking forward to featuring more of her work next year.

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Modest in Scale award recipient Gary Voss

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Sculptor Gary Voss is one of four recipients of the Modest in Scale exhibition awards. His current work utilizes a combination of ancient encaustic materials and contemporary rapid prototyped ABSi plastic. These vessel-like forms continue a sculpture/pottery hybrid investigation begun years ago.

On exhibit in Modest in Scale are two works, Untitled #78.E.2 and Untitled #88.As.1, created with ABSi plastic and encaustic. I am pleasantly surprised by how appealing the relationship of these two disparate materials is in Voss’s hands. Their translucent bases partially obscure mysterious forms; a bird’s eye view down through layers of vulvar forms continues, rather than dispels the intrigue.

G.Voss2_#88

Gary’s work has an emphasis on the internal with obvious reference to the human form. About this series he states:

My recent involvement with ABS plastic continues, to some degree, the sculpture/pottery hybrid investigation.  This new technology allows for an acceleration of the process from creation to realization by using industrial materials and contemporary processes of computer modeling and rapid prototyping and calls into question the cultural significance of these new materials and techniques.

The translucency of the material allows the viewer a diffused glimpse of the interior encaustic which is in opposition to the distinct forms when viewed from above. The clean, industrial, austere vessel exteriors, with their technological appearance, are contrasted by the corporeal nature of the interiors.  As this plastic has been used in the medical field, the interiors now more clearly reflect notions of body muscles and joints, with surgical implications.

Gary directs the undergraduate and undergraduate programs in sculpture at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

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Modest in Scale award recipient Erin Paulson

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Erin Paulson is one of four Modest In Scale award recipients.

Erin is a bookbinder, paper maker, and photographer living in Philadelphia where she is pursuing an MFA in book arts and printmaking from the University of the Arts. On exhibit in Modest in Scale are two sculptural bookwork pieces made with handmade paper and other fibers.

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What is other wise lost is made with handmade flax paper silk thread linen pig suede and found objects. It is housed in a miniature chest of drawers; each of the five drawers containing an elegantly arranged set of objects. In this work Erin’s attention to hand skills and reverence for simple materials is evident.

Paulson what is detail

About this piece Erin says:

With what is otherwise lost, I sought to create the tangible out of the intangible by blending elements of science and sentiment to create objects with which the viewer can interact. These transfer the elusive concepts of truth, memory, and a record of feelings past or present into a physical presence, defined and contained. The imagery references science, astronomy, astrology, and the mapping of places that don’t exist beyond the mind’s eye, while the writings describe a time and place. There is an element of magic present: the quality of the unexplained, of the potential, of the celestial, that all relate to an interest in our often inaccurate perceptions of memory.

The second piece on display is called I was screaming and no one could hear. It is made with handmade kozo paper, LED lights and book cloth.

Erin Paulson - i was screaming1

In this piece, a box houses a folded book structure, the pages heavy with embroidered lines, resting in a box, the base of which has small holes, like pinpricks, that form the book’s title. Beneath the base are LED lights that, when turned on, illuminate the word forming dots.

Paulson i was screaming

About this piece Erin says:

As a teenager I developed a series of neurotic behaviors, including a debilitating stutter. Since that time my work has been the outlet by which I enforce my determination to never again become unfettered, lose my confidence, or slip into the neuroses of my past. It is the struggle for composure over chaos, and the minute, almost indiscernible divide of which I must remain constantly aware to maintain my balance.

I was screaming and no one could hear is an artist book comprised of handmade kozo paper and a hand-embroidered sound wave of my voice striving to overcome stuttering while reciting the title. The repetitive action of the embroidery relates to the daily struggle of a former stutterer to speak with clarity.
Erin Paulson - i was screaming2

This piece is the visualization of the daily battle to conquer my speech impediment – the successes and the failures, the internal struggle and the external symptoms, the journey traversed and the finish line perceived.

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Modest in Scale award recipient Aram Han

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Aram is a Korean born multi media artist whose family immigrated to Modesto California when Aram was five years old.

Her undergraduate work focused on art and Latin American studies. She worked primarily in figurative ceramics, studying under Richard Shaw at the University of California Berkeley. She then received her post baccalaureate certificate in fine arts at Maryland Institute of Art. Aram is currently working towards an MFA in fiber and material studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The piece in the Modest in Scale exhibition is called Ornament and Order and is made using a shirt collar with white rice and thread. Ornament and Order is one of several works inspired by the traditional South, Southeast, and East Asian mythology of the Rice Goddess or Rice Mother. In many versions the mother is killed and the first rice grows from her body. Rice now feeds over half the total world population today; the feeding of countless bodies traced back to first rice.

Aram grew up in an immigrant family and watched her mother sacrifice her dreams and much of her happiness to provide for and feed her family. Aran mimics her mother’s work as a seamstress and stitches grains of rice onto garments. She is inspired by Joseph Campbell’s suggestion to look to mythology to create metaphors to understand our daily lives. In this series the artist is connecting the life of the immigrant mother with the mythological rice mother.

I look forward to learning more about Aram and her work over the course of the coming year as we plan an exhibit to featureing her work os one of the four Modest In Scale award recipients.

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Lauren Scanlon – Fairy Tales and Romance Novels

Lauren Scanlon – Fairy Tales and Romance Novels

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I have appreciated Lauren Scanlon’s work since I first saw a presentation given by her at a conference several years ago. When I began the curatorial process for the Drawn and Quarto exhibit at Abecedarian Gallery I contacted Lauren to see if any of her current projects might fit the theme.

After some consideration Lauren agreed to create a body of work specifically for this exhibit. Lauren pulled it off even though she married, honeymooned, moved across country, then temporarily relocated to Canada, all during the brief time she had available to create this work. In addition to all of these complications, her camera and many studio supplies were stolen while she was on the road. Her perseverance paid off with a wonderful body of work that includes drawings on pages taken from books alongside a series of ‘shrouded’ books.

Lauren Scanlon Group of Books for Drawn and Quarto 2

Here is what Lauren has to say about these works:

My recent work uses bedsheet designs as an entry point for investigating the pattern, structure and impact of a specific line of romance novels that I read when I was very young (10 years old). These novels were published as a more highly sexualized line of romance reading (than was currently available at the time).

In structure, the novels are thinly veiled recreations of classic fairytales such as Cinderella, Snow White or Bluebeard. Familiar situations and characters are present including cruel stepmothers, frightening husbands, and disenfranchised heroines in need of rescue. Having read them so young, my perception of them as fairytales is even more pronounced.

In many ways, these romance-novel-fairy-tales are much closer to the stories told by the Grimms Brothers than those told to us by Disney. Both the Grimms Tales and these romance stories contain truly frightening imagery – sexuality, violence and cruelty – that has largely been removed from recent fairytale incarnations as presented to us by contemporary narrators (in films like Cinderella Man or animated works by Disney).

The drawings presented here highlight the fairytale elements of the books while at the same time leaving the text available for you to read. Where possible, the images reflect some aspect of the narrative.

The objects are shrouded books. They are the exact romance novels that I read as a kid. They have been carved (eviscerated) with an exacto knife and shrouded for burial using domestic fabrics and gold thread. The use of bedsheets, pillowcases and curtains connects the text to the domestic realm and the specific location of a bedtime story. The decorative, often floral, patterns distract from the dark revelations of the text. This renders them relatively harmless and is an attempt to – figuratively speaking – put them to bed.

More details about these pieces as well as works by other artists included in the exhibit, available here:

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Jim Johnson in the Reading Room

Folios and Other Open Books

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The career of Jim Johnson is one of diversity of approach with specificity of purpose. Trained as a painter, early in his career he began to experiment with new media such as video, collage, photocopies, correspondence art and books. From his first exposure to the international Concrete Poetry movement in the late sixties, Jim’s work has consistently moved in the direction of discovery and away from expression.

Visitors to the Denver Art Museum have likely seen his book/installation, A Thousand Words is in the Denver Art Museum’s Permanent Collection.

He has created numerous one-of-a-kind books as well as limited and open editions, a selection of which is on display in the Reading Room this fall. The exhibit includes a selection of books using the versatile folio format. Jim works with the versatility of the folio, the notion that each collection of folios (or ‘book’) exists as both multiple sheets and a single object. He treats the form as a collection that can be read in sequence or disassembled and viewed or framed together or individually.

Other books in the exhibition are unbound, boxed or loose pages in envelopes that can be displayed in any number of ways. Several of his books are available as free online PDF files or are available on demand from SPOD publishers such as Lulu or his own site Discopie., Lulu and Printed Matter

Jim was a a member of the Painting and Drawing faculty of the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1970. He developed the department’s Integrated Media and Computer Imaging programs and was instrumental in developing the Center for Arts, Media and Performance for the ATLAS Institute and served as it’s first Director.

Abecedarian will host an informal talk and reception for Jim on October 19, from 6-8pm.

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