Archive | 2012 Exhibitions

Artists Book Cornucopia III – Linda K. Johnson

Seasons of Winter by Linda Johnson 


Linda K Johnson - Seasons of Winter


This book makes use of an everyday, low-end material, papertoweling, to create a book perfectly suited for Randy L. Mayes’ musings on winter. Johnson handset the type and printed on slightly translucent papertowels. That each is carefully  torn at the bottom edge creates a series of soft edge layers very evocative of falling snow. 


For Johnson the 

torn fore edges . . . connote the sense of time passing and the observationsof winter changing as the season progresses and ultimately gives way to spring. 


The book is stab bound at the top, the cover a cool tone Amate paper.


This books is produced in an edition of 25 and sells for $125.


Artist statement, images, descriptive details and ordering information here


Alice Austin – The Rome Project

The Rome Project – on view in the ReadingRoom February 17 – April 7.

It is a pleasure to be featuring the work of Alice Austin in The Reading Room this spring. Alice is one of the artists who sent work out for the first show at Abecedarian, and her ongoing support of this project has been steady and is appreciated. For this exhibition, Alice came for the installation and opening night. During the reception she captivated visitors with details her most recent body of work.
alice w: panorama rp

Alice Austin has been traveling to Italy each fall for the past several years. Although she has spent time in Venice, her favorite Italian city is Rome, where she has been a visiting artist at the American Academy. She takes with her only what will fit into her bright red suitcase; once there strolling through the city examining historical documents, public buildings and attractions.

As a library conservator (Alice works at The Library Company of Philadelphia, a rare book library founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin), her appreciation for historical records is well embedded, her comfort with historical documents a fact of her life. By all accounts, Rome is rich with history, and because Alice visits as an artist with a particular project in mind her visits take on quite a different aspect than were she traveling as another sort of visitor. Indeed, the night of her reception for The Rome Project at Abecedarian, a gallery visitor was telling me that her experience of Rome is that it is corrupt, noisy, expensive and difficult to navigate. This is hardly the Rome that Alice presents in her most recent body of work The Rome Project.

alice w map rp

This project began in September 2008 when Austin was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her project was to study the 1748 Giambattista Nolli map of Rome and synthesize the character of the historic map with modern Rome. She set out into the city to record the patterns, geometry and textures of the Nolli map sites through photos, drawings and paintings made at prominent sites from the map. The first result of her work was a limited edition bookwork, Nolli, a map-book exploring the textural layers of Rome produced collaboratively with designer/photographer Jon Snyder.

This modestly scaled book, presented in a what is sometimes called a meander book format, presents details that are later referenced in the large scale drawing suite and series of artists’ books. The front and the back covers show elements from the originally Nolli map, which was executed in 1748 as twelve copper plate engravings, each about 22 x 30 inches. Nolli had papal permission to enter all buildings in Rome in order to make accurate measurements, a project which took him over ten years. The back page of the book is a photograph of a litho plate of the Forma Urbis, the Roman map which was executed in stone. The red line that continues throughout the book depicts the shape of the city wall, taken from the handmade paper, and is shown on the reverse side of the map in white. The book also includes a detail photograph of the Nolli map, a watercolor of Bramante’s Tempietto, on which the design for St. Peter’s is based, photographs and prints of the Campidoglio pavement designed by Michelangelo, and a rendering of the first century pyramid of Caius Cestius, built when the Romans were interested in all things Egyptian. The back side of the map unfolds to reveal a drawing of historic Rome and Bramante’s architectural plan for St. Peter’s.
Alice-Austin-Rome04 Alice-Austin-Rome06Nolli was offset printed in an edition of 60, in collaboration with the Borowsky Center at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, 2010. Copies are available at this link ($150 each).


On stunning display in the Reading Room is the installation of Austin’s suite of 9 drawings of Rome, each 22 x 30 inches, arranged in the same manner as Nolli’s Pianta Grande di Roma to make one large drawing measuring 66 x 90 inches.

Alice Austin - installing Rome ProjectLimited in palette, the mixed media drawings include ink, crayon, relief printing and transfer drawings on sheets of linen paper hand made at the Dieu Donne Paper Mill in New York City in 2009 especially for this project. During Alice’s informal gallery talks at the opening I learned that the name Dieu Donne means god given, which, given the scope and references of this project, seems appropriate. The paper incorporates a stencil pulp painting of the Aurelian city wall colored with dry pigments from Rome. Linoleum prints inspired by the Cosmatesque patterns of marble floors of Roman churches were inlaid during the paper making process. Cosmatesque takes it name from the Roman family Cosmati who made the inlaid marble floors in many of Rome’s churches using salvaged columns from the ruins of ancient Roman buildings. The ink drawings on the maps are of the historic center of Rome. The blue transfer drawings are of St. Peter’s basilica, designed in the Greek cross pattern by Bramante in 1506, inspired by the Roman temple, the Pantheon. The plan for the Pantheon is relief printed from a linoleum cut.Alice Austin - installing Rome Project

The final phase of the project to date is the production of several artists’ books in which Alice presents in various book forms several of the repeating elements from both the Nolli book and the drawing suite. A series of three unfolding map books, folded into pamphlet bound paper cases were made using sheets of the Dieu Donne paper. The covers are of handmade flax paper from Cave Paper Mill. They are either printed from linoleum and sewn, printed on vellum and sewn, or pierced to create a pattern.

Rome is filled with patterns that have delighted Alice for years, such as an interlocking circle pattern. Alice uses this pleasing and well balanced pattern in several instances in The Rome Project, notably on the covers of the map books and on the interior pages of several of the books. The pattern seems to be a universal response to geometric repetitions. It exists all over the world, in Egyptian cloth from 2000 b.c., as well as in the mosaic designs in Rome.

Also on view, are Austin’s Rome Panorama books, a series of five accordion books with cut floating panels printed and painted on Rives BFK.
Alice-Austin-Rome09The cover of each is inset with a linoleum print on vellum, or paper. These are individually available ($500 each).

Alice-Austin-Rome03Alice-Austin-Rome01Alice has also graciously lent two of her sketchbooks, bound in traditional limp vellum style, for the exhibition. These sketchbooks provide a detailed history of the project generally and her work methods more specifically.

It is an honor and a delight to be hosting this first presentation of The Rome Project at Abecedarian Gallery.


Emerging Artists Exhibitions

Each January, Abecedarian Gallery promotes the work of student and emerging artists. This year, exhibiting in the main gallery is the work of two emerging artists, Andrea Crane and Danielle Vogel. In the Reading Room Denver newcomer Max Maddox is exhibiting.


Roach detail


Andrea Crane – Triggers

Andrea Crane is a mixed media artist using various techniques to create sculptural books. Her work is inspired by family events; she recreates memories of those methods with a variety of methods. Recent works have successfully paired plexiglass constructions with modestly scaled books. Gallery visitors may remember Andrea’s engaging piece, My Becoming, from the Artists’ Book Cornucopia II exhibit last year. Her use of clear material as backdrop effectively insinuates a “clear remembrance” of the past. Andrea is adept  at using her own experience to trigger a viewer’s memory into recalling past events resulting in work that is both personable and unique.

Andrea says:
A simple meatloaf sandwich sparks my hatred for mayonnaise. My mother insisted on making that disgusting sandwich with what felt like 10 pounds of that crap. This particular idea brings back memories of tossing endless sandwiches in the trash in the hope of sharing some of my friends’ lunch instead.  If only my mother could only make a simple ham and cheese sandwich for me. It also became apparent in thinking about my childhood that my mom never made anything that looked vaguely similar to what the rest of the school kids had in their lunch boxes.  Who the heck eats meatloaf sandwiches anyway? 
The word meatloaf is what triggers this memory from my past.  Triggers is a body of work that depicts both a trigger and a memory.  Some pieces recite the particular memory while others are left to the imagination of the viewer.  “What happens to those experiences that we can remember after a day but not after a year? Do they disappear entirely? Or are they lurking in the background, requiring only the right trigger * ”.  Specific words, sounds, voices, smells or visuals, can trigger my mind to recall multiple memories.  “Triggers” invites the viewer to see my memory process and think about how the mind works when it comes to keeping my memories alive.

*The Seven Sins of Memory, Schacter, Daniel L., Houghton Mifflin Company, N.Y, 2001

Andrea currently resides in Golden, Colorado with her husband David and dog Larry.

Vogel Nest 1

Danielle Vogel – The Amniotics of Seeing

Danielle earned her MFA in Writing & Poetics at Naropa University and is currently a PhD candidate at University of Denver. In this exhibit she will show her textile scroll-works and ceramic book artifacts, which explore the ceremonial gestation of a manuscript as it is written.

Danielle says:
Through creating architectures for The Amniotics of Seeing, I’ve been investigating the book as an appendage of the body — and the body as an appendage for the book. This collection explores a manuscript, pre-completion. Each ceramic swallow-like nest, pod, and hive performs as a dwelling for excerpts from my manuscripts-in-progress. They are homage-chambers — places outside of my own body where my manuscripts can gestate as they await completion. I’ve been investigating archival and gestation practices found in nature in order to more fully understand my role as a writer. Studying nest and hive-building techniques, I’ve come to better understand how I compose narratives on small and large scales; how my tendencies and failures are revealed through the muscle and synapse fields of thread, paper, clay, and syllable. What helps the writer arrive within the world of the manuscript? Often these are private rituals that are maybe forgotten and not homaged in public spaces or after the manuscript is complete. Each contracting chamber within The Amniotics of Seeing is a meditation on the archive of memory stored in the muscle-body of a book as it is written —each a reflecting of my private rituals surrounding what helps a book become possible.

Danielle is the author of the chapbooks, lit, and the forthcoming, Incest Survivors’ After Effects Checklist. Her writing has most recently appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Tarpaulin Sky, Trickhouse, and Caketrain. A sister show to The Amniotics of Seeing, A Compendium of Intentional Inversions, will be exhibited at The University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Poetry off the Page Symposium in May 2012.


Maddox minta

Max Maddox – Minta

in the Reading Room

After growing up in Colorado, Max lived on the east coast for several years before returning to his home state. Exhibiting for the first time in Denver, Max Maddox’s Minta: Specters of an Imagined Love is a site specific exhibition of collage and assemblage, Maddox arranges found objects and ephemera so as to seduce us into a relationship with him through a re-presentation of cultural media. His process is not unlike that of the bowerbird, a creature who collects related objects in its nest to attract a mate.

Max says:
I was in Philadelphia eighteen months ago when I first conjured the idea of Minta, but the truth is I never met her and never learned her real name.

Before me, the Love Park fountain burst through the evening air, the flags of the avenue full as sails with the warmth of a Philadelphia summer.  I had prepared the way for her arrival with gifts I had come across that day: a glimmer on the street, found at the tip of my shoe, or stolen from my aunt’s bathroom, my grandmother’s jewelry box; each artifact as though meant for the hand wherein I would give to her.  Fine chocolates and white wine, little soaps and body powders wrapped in little bows, the finest relics of the street, a diamond accented with emeralds on a band of white gold.  I arranged it all in a display at my side.

She never materialized, a fact that I shouldn’t have been surprised by, but I continued to think of her incessantly, looking tirelessly for some piece of ephemera meant for me or yet another gift meant for her; any morsel of evidence of the continuing truth of our apparently forbidden love. The gifts I have found, by which I have meant to invite her presence, have piled up, changed in character, become a collection.

Desperation has long set in for the suitor of this love story.  I have kept my head to the ground, crushed my ribs over the edge of dumpsters, seeking some scrap of encouragement.  Perhaps Minta means to prolong this game forever, or perhaps she plays its other half and hasn’t any more control over it than I.  But by now she occupies the biggest part of my practice, and in all likelihood the process of losing her will someday take the place of my work altogether.