A journey across a rural Midwestern landscape of both space and time. Mirage is winner of the award for best 3D entry in the 2010 Midwestern Biennial exhibition at the Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL.
Karen Hanmer’s Mirage reflects those hot late-summer road trips when the crops are tall, the days long and hot, the air dusty, and the road flat and straight, punctuated only by farms racing by in a blur. Hanmer, no stranger to themes of the rural Midwest, captures the essence of those trips in dreamy imagery wrapped in a skillfully crafted minimalist structure that does not intrude on the experience. An essential companion to Hanmer’s other works such as Bluestem, Prairie, Homestead, Flip Farm, and Bequest.
- Peter D. Verheyen, bookbinder/conservator, publisher of the Book Arts Web and The Bonefolder.
Karen Hanmer’s Mirage beautifully represents the concepts of time and motion through a sequence of dreamlike images that whirl across the pages. The photographs, blurred as if taken from a speeding car, describe place and memory in a manner that is melancholic yet detached. The book is a diary of sorts, documenting the quickly passing and often unperceived moments that later prompt recollection.
- Jeff Rathermel, Artistic Director, Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Karen Hanmer’s Chicago studio practice is unusually varied, including small editions of artists’ books, larger editions of inexpensive multiples, installation, and one-of-a-kind design bindings. Her work fragments and layers text and image to weaves together themes of history, technology, personal and cultural memory and the American Midwestern landscape. The work often has a playful presentation, taking the form of puzzles, maps, games, or decks of cards. Many include text, often archival, usually first person accounts. Hanmer exhibits internationally, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to UCLA and Graceland. Hanmer is one of only eight graduates of the American Academy of Bookbinding’s Fine Binding program. She is a leader in the book arts community, serving on the editorial boards of The Bonefolder and the Guild of Book Workers Journal and as frequent exhibition curator. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in basic binding skills.