|E Sher pages from The Art of the Book Catalog, 2012|
Here is an excerpt from the article, The Art of the Book @ Seager Gray, which was published on 29 April 2012.
"What is it about books that make them so irresistible for artists? Is it because they introduce us to worlds we couldn’t otherwise know? Or is it the opposite: that certain proscriptive books activate a hard-wired instinct to subvert and rebel? Whatever it is, book art, in recent decades, has blossomed, and its practitioners, both in number and diversity, have multiplied like rhizomes. The form has attracted painters, sculptors and conceptual artists; poets, photographers, novelists and scientists; and, dedicated fine art printers who facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration.
The so-called death of print? If anything, it’s emboldened artists by bringing to the fore all of the qualities that have always made books compelling, namely, pictures, words, tactility, design and, yes, stories. And stories, as we know, have long history of artistic embellishment, as illuminated manuscripts and their predecessors demonstrate. Donna Seager and Suzanne Gray, in whose eponymously named gallery this annual museum-quality show takes place, have been keen observers of this activity, and in this exhibit they’ve brought together a wide range of book artists from the U.S. and abroad. There are 33 in all.
They include Brian Dettmer, a Georgia artist who makes fantastical sculptures out of surgically exposed antiquarian books; Richard Shaw, the legendary Bay Area maker of trompe l’oeil ceramic sculpture; multi-media artist Kota Ezawa; and East Bay filmmaker Elizabeth Sher whose “blog” — of sorts — consists of Torah-like scrolls filled with automatic writing in an alphabet she devised. You’ll also find the stunning Oliver Sacks-Abelardo Morell collaboration, The Island of Rota, about which I’ll say more, as well as works from Lisa Kokin. Her thread-based sculptures, which hang in mid-air, dispense almost entirely with the stuff of which books are made, save the words themselves."