3 Early-Career Book Artists to Be Featured in Exhibition

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is pleased to announce the culminating exhibition for the 2019–2021 MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowships, featuring printmaker Austin Nash, photographer/papermaker Shun Yong, and collaborative zine-making-and-publishing team Sarah Evenson and Jade Juno.  

Unlike the fifteen Jerome Fellowship cohorts that preceded them, the current fellows honed their craft at MCBA during the COVID-19 pandemic, masked and distanced. These extraordinary circumstances influenced their processes and their artwork.

“For 428 days straight, I poured ink onto a screen and pulled a print,” writes Austin Nash in his artist statement. When Nash was confined to his home during the early part of the pandemic, he turned his bathroom into a makeshift screen printing studio. The repetitive process led to meditation, reflection, and a print series entitled The Hum of Thoughts, a collaboration with artist Sagirah Shahid.

Working collaboratively under the name RumTum Press, Sarah Evenson and Jade Juno sought to “create a thoroughly physical reading experience,” a goal that took on “a new and unexpected poignance during the socially-distanced days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they write. The team created and distributed Queer Masses, a five-issue set of zines full of colorful letterpress-printed illustrations and accompanying text.

Shun Yong, a portrait photographer, is a second-generation Chinese immigrant from Malaysia who has lived in the United States for nine years. His Occupation series documents immigrants and refugees in their working environments. “My intention is to honor immigrants and refugees—to present them as they want to be seen, but not necessarily as we typically see them,” Shun writes.

Since 1985, MCBA has partnered with the Jerome Foundation to help early career artists push the boundaries of contemporary book arts by supporting the creation of new work. Under the previous fifteen series of fellowships and seven series of mentorships, this program has served Minnesota artists of diverse disciplines, including printers, papermakers, bookbinders, painters, sculptors, poets, photographers, choreographers, filmmakers and others. With projects ranging from exquisitely-crafted fine press volumes and documented performances to one-of-a-kind installations, Minnesota early career artists have created work that breaks the bindings and redefines conventional notions of book form and content.

“The benefits of this program for an early career artist cannot be understated. I am at a stage both personally and professionally in which $5,000 and free studio access makes a significant, career-altering difference,” says Sarah Evenson. “Having a creative community with whom to weather the storm of COVID has been extremely important.”

The work of these emerging artists will be on view in the Main Gallery during our reopening pop-up hours starting Saturday, October 30, 10am–5pm. The exhibition will also be viewable by appointment. Additionally, the public will have the opportunity to attend an opening reception on Friday, November 12, 6-9pm, at which the artists will give remarks.

ABOUT THE JEROME FOUNDATION

Since 1985, the Jerome Foundation has helped emerging artists push the boundaries of contemporary book arts by supporting the creation of new work. Through these fellowship and mentorship opportunities, Minnesota artists of diverse disciplines have created book arts projects that challenge and redefine conventional notions of book form and content.