Friday, January 10, 2014

"to germs"

detail of a surface on "to germs"

The new year has brought me a burst of post Christmas energy (not quite sure how, but I think a beautiful book Robyn Foster lent me might have helped). "Art made from Books" includes many inspirational book artists including Pamela Paulsrud. Some of her work has a very painterly approach to her book sculptures and this was all the excuse for an exploration into the altered book side of the book arts I needed.

An old discarded book from our local library "to germs" formed the basis for the book. I had originally picked up the book because of references to some bacteria that were of particular interest to me but also because it reminded me of my first career as a trainee bacteriologist many years ago. So there is a bit of history there to inform some of the marks and text and added pieces I brought to the sculpture.

My previous work was with milk and cream and the bugs that make it go off, both good and bad. Woodford Dairy Co-op was one of my first excursions in the field out of the lab, testing milk and cream as it came in from the farms. The samples that were off were sent to the lab for testing and the bacteria grown on petri dishes and test tubes for identification. The marks show the colonies of bacteria that grew in the media. The use of wax and china graph pencils was perfect to capture those early memories.

the reverse side of the cover

The added bits of hardware keep this highly contagious  sculpture safe and secure.

flat side with test tube

top spine showing title

test tube with fake bacteria culture

No it was not these bacteria directly above that interested me but the heliobacter pylori in the previous detail.

the other flat side

mixed media 

from above

 I've enjoyed this area of exploration and while there's a lot of room for improvement, I'll keep working in this area for a bit. The altered book probably could have been  more substantially changed and three-dimensional and I'm not too sure about the knock-kneed stick standing in for the laboratory retort stand, but I'm quite happy with the surfaces and the paint .


Amanda said...

What an interesting path this is Jack. Beautiful surfaces! Looking forward to seeing your next installment.

Jack Oudyn said...

Thanks Amanda, I'll try a few more altered books before getting back to more familiar territory.

susan bowers said...

Quite an exciting area you are exploring here Jack. It reminds me that often one appreciates so much more of what we are looking at, when the 'author' of the book, or artist in this case, tells of a little of his thought process. The book sculpture can be appreciated for its sense of fun and the combinations you have included in the sculpture, but i enjoyed it even more with your explanation. Sorry this sounds so long winded!

Jack Oudyn said...

Thanks Susan, it's always great to get feedback.One is never sure about explanations, some find them boring and others like to draw their own interpretations regardless of the artists conceptual frame. (An even more long winded reply - sorry)