2022 Minnesota Book Artist Award

2022 Minnesota Book Artist Award: Works by Cathy Ryan
January 13–March 6, 2022
MCBA Main Gallery

virtual Artist talk: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24; 7–8:30pm  CT
CLOSING reception: thursday, MARCH 3; 6–9pm ct

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Cathy Ryan is the winner of the 2022 Minnesota Book Artist Award for her pandemic-inspired book entitled Chronicle. Sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group, this biennial award is presented as part of the Minnesota Book Awards and recognizes a Minnesota book artist or collaborative group for excellence of a new artistic work. Winners also show demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts through three pieces of supporting previous work, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community.

The exhibition celebrating Chronicle will be on display January 13–March 6 in the Main Gallery at MCBA and open for public viewing on Saturdays from 10am–5pm.

Join us for a virtual artist talk on Thursday, February 24, 7–8:30pm CT, as well as a closing reception on Thursday, March 3, 6–9pm. Ryan will also receive special recognition and an award at the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards Celebration in April.


“Right now, artists have the unique opportunity to speak to a universal experience,” writes Ryan in her artist statement. “2020 was shared by all, and even though there are countless reactions and perspectives, each of us now comprehends the reality of a global pandemic.”

Chronicle is about the stark contrast between the relative tranquility of meditation on the reassuring cycles of nature, amid the chaos and uncertainty of political turmoil and a worldwide health crisis. As the pages of the book move through the seasons, the words and images remind the reader of simpler things. Simultaneously, the jarring reality of world events hangs in the background, never far away from consciousness.

Members of the award committee praised Ryan’s impeccable craftsmanship and content that poignantly lays out the contrast between public and private experiences as the year unfolds. Tension is created by Ryan’s exploration of the passing year through an intimate connection with the natural world and an ever-present news ticker visually anchoring each page and grounding the reader in the shared public experience of the pandemic. Chronicle is a very intentional work that proves how Ryan stretches herself on all levels: the form, presentation, and printing all fulfill exactly the role they need to, coming together in a powerful and evocative book with particular resonance for today.

Ryan’s three supporting works—Urban Oasis, Sensing Wonder, and Convergence—also engage with the theme of human interaction with the natural world.

“Ultimately, my work is about forging a stronger bond with the earth and finding a connection to place,” Ryan writes. “It’s about paying attention—to a single moment, a thought, an impression, an experience. It’s what the photographer Paul Caponigro describes as ‘sensing the thread which holds all things together.'”

Cathy Ryan is a book artist and printmaker based in Minneapolis, MN. She was awarded a 2011/2012 MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowship and her work is included in the 2012 Quarry publication 1000 Artist Books. In 2014, she was an artist-in-residence at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, MN, and in 2015, she co-curated The Contained Narrative: Defining the Contemporary Artist’s Book at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Most recently, she was awarded a second MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowship for 2017/2018 and an artist residency in Salzburg, Austria. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is included in private and public collections including the Minnesota Historical Society, Hennepin County Library Special Collections, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Libraries Special Collections. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art from San Francisco State University, and a post baccalaureate certificate in Print, Paper, Book from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

For more information on the Minnesota Book Artist Award and to view past winners, please visit our Minnesota Book Artist Award page.