Monday, October 24, 2016

Libris Awards visited

yours truly checking on "Keer Weer"

Even though I have been home several weeks, I've finally found some time to share some of my thoughts and the images of some of the beautiful books. It was an amazing show of wonderful books that moved me to the studio post haste. I'm so glad I was able to get to Mackay in time before the Libris Awards exhibition closed. It was a real credit to Mackay Artspace and the staff to host such a great show. However, once again it brought home to me how difficult life is for artist books in this context -being untouchable and so limited in their ability to really communicate when locked up under covers or on plinths.

 Pleasure demolition. Letterpress, various kraft papers, thread and pole.

Some work fared better than others in this environment. Karen Florance's piece moved gently in the airconditioned breeze, giving us all a great view of the whole work as intended with the play of moving shadows on the wall an extra bonus.
The legacy of absence and silence. Drawings and image transfers

Helen Malone's work, as were many others, were beautifully displayed on plinths that were approachable from all sides giving the audience at least some sense of intimacy that these works cry out for.

Bronwyn REES and Elizabeth BANFIELD
A different path. Etching and linocut on Somerset paper

However, I felt very sorry for some artists whose wonderful work was done a great disservice by being displayed poorly. This wonderful concertina book was only visible from one side because the plinth it was on was parallel to the wall so that the back was not visible at all. I must admit I was very naughty and moved the work slightly so I could see some of Bronwyn's work as well. This was not the only work displayed this way and I don't want to take anything away from the wonderful experience I had, but it could so easily be even better because it is so easily avoided. I was so glad that Bronwyn Rees had another work in the show.

Bronwyn REES Lost. Etching and collage

Again, unfortunately I don't feel this work was done complete justice in it's display. The interesting way in which the etching plate was used as the cover was not really noticeable but a more difficult dilemma to solve. I don't want to sound like a moaner and fault finder, particularly after such a wonderful exhibition, BUT we can and must try harder to make the difficult experience of showing artist books more valuable for the audience so they can be more involved with the work.

 Unreadable book No.2. Sheets of semi transparent coloured shaped acrylic

My last gripe concerns the inaccessibility to the Artist's statement that accompanied the work through out the exhibition. The artists  were asked to include one in our submission and although the gallery had thought to reproduce the images in the show onto an IPad, sadly there was no copy of the artist statement for the audience or even a hard copy. So particularly for the more conceptual pieces like this classic by Janis Nedela, we were left totally in the dark about what the artist was trying to communicate. This work was under a cover on a plinth to stop you  trying to rearrange the perspex pieces, even if you were allowed. Again, so easily made better with the artist statement being available to the audience. 
Window (first class). Recycled envelopes, collage. 

 Drawing on the ground. Carbon drawings, handstamped and handwritten text

Elizabeth JENEID
Special delivery. Wood, paper, tarlatan, paint
Keer Weer ready to travel

the wooden keel makes a wavelike form

the images and tone vary as you turn the pages

I be very surprised if too many people studying Elizabeth Jeneid's "Special Delivery" (above), would have worked out that it was about people trafficing or that my book,  "Keer Weer", a kindred spirit,  concerned boat people and "illegal refugees". I'd be also be very surprised if the curators that acquired my book for the State Library of Qld hadn't had the chance to read my artist statement or have any access to white gloves to explore the book fully. What a thrill to be there, accessible for all to share whenever they choose. We are so lucky!

Biodiversity cones. Digital book.

 Europa to Oceania. Text: Antoni JACH. Letterpress,
collograph, linocut, quarter cloth binding.

 Finite caves (drowned). Ink, crayons, acrylic, dye, thread and paper.

I'm sorry I couldn't show all the work that inspired me that week-end, I clearly had too much time on my hands. I feel so lucky to have been able to explore this exhibition for two days with hardly a soul in the gallery. What bliss! 

In the meantime, I think that considering how your work will be presented (and photographed for your submission) are very important issues, crucial to being included in national exhibitions like this.


Roberta Warshaw said...

Thanks for a peek at what looks like a very interesting show. I understand your frustration when viewing some of the books. That is the downside to most exhibits of hand made books.

Jack Oudyn said...

Yes, having a show of artists books has many problems but they are still always so exciting too.