MCBA / Jerome Book Arts Mentorship Series II
November 20, 2009 – February 21, 2010
The Book Arts Mentorship Series introduces the book arts to emerging artists whose primary medium is in another artistic discipline, from writing to pottery, photography to filmmaking, composing to choreography. These artists get intensive education on the traditional crafts of bookmaking — including letterpress printing, hand papermaking, hand bookbinding, alternative printmaking techniques and more — and incorporate these new explorations into their “native” artistic discipline to create new work. This extremely unique cross-discipline artist mentorship program is funded through the Jerome Foundation and facilitated by Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
This exhibition represents the culmination of a journey of learning, experimenting with traditional methods, expanding concepts through contemporary techniques, and integrating previous expertise with fresh knowledge. Series II participants were: photographer and mixed media installation artist Gregory Carideo, painter and mixed media artist Tanaegh Haddad, textile and mixed media artist Amber Jensen, poet, metalworker and sculptor Sheila Lynch-Salamon, ceramic, mosaic and mixed media artist Deborah Ramos, and letterpress, drawing and sculpture artist Mira Rojanasakul.
Language is thought of as the most explanatory form of communication. From author to author, written language reveals subjective interpretation. Photographer and mixed media installation artist Gregory Carideo’s project takes a single well known story and showcases the nuance of meanings derived from the first sentence, one that has refused translation from its native language for 94 years and has transformed much like its subject.
Painter and mixed media artist Tanaegh Haddad’s work, entitled My Brother’s Keeper, is a set of 12 books in the form of Ethiopian prayer scrolls (10” x 30”) with hand-painted images and letterpress text, housed in a handmade box. The work describes a 2008 car accident involving her brother, a medical doctor, and the subsequent series of events. The narrative describes abuse inflicted by the police, his treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital — where he had previously completed his residency — and some of the spiritual and emotional experiences resulting from the incident. The artist uses selected Psalms to represent her brother’s “voice” in the description of events, some of which he does not remember because of his physical trauma and heavy sedation. Haddad’s words respond to him reflecting her prayers and communicating to him her
own memory of the events.
Titled The Red List, textile and mixed media artist Amber Jensen has been working on a large-scale alphabet book of endangered species. Each page is decoratively cut and covered in muslin with the inside quietly displaying an individual painting. Accompanying the piece is a smaller reproduction of the book in a limited edition of handmade red wool envelopes that will be for sale at the opening with proceeds going to the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
Combining poetry, metalwork and sculptural elements, Sheila Lynch-Salamon’s An Architecture of Waiting poses these questions: What is the color of waiting? Its texture? Its spatial parameters? In this work, poetry is held captive within 3 distinct architectural frameworks. It hides. It is hammered onto the metal pages of books. This is poetry attempting to outwit the page, and shatter the tension between staying put and moving forward.
Ceramic, mosaic and mixed media artist Deborah Ramos’s project fuses her cultural connections and research in a bookwork exploring relationships between humans and the Earth within the Mexihca oral tradition. As an amateur gardener, Ramos is fascinated with the metamorphosis of seed to fruit and its similarity to the human life cycle, and has conducted much research on the oral/pictographic literature of Mexico, focusing especially on the significance of corn. The resulting bookwork also includes explorations in papermaking with natural fibers significant to the culture.
Knowledge begins with a raw experience, which is charted into data points or articulated into other languages. It is translated, simplified, or edited to promote one view or another. Combining letterpress, drawing and sculpture, artist Mira Rojanasakul creates paper structures that trace the corruption of information as we struggle to distill functional truths from this world.
Since 1985 the Jerome Foundation has helped artists push the boundaries of contemporary book arts by supporting the creation of new book works. Under the previous ten series of fellowships, Minnesota artists of diverse disciplines — including printers, papermakers, binders, painters, sculptors, poets, photographers, essayists and others — have created projects ranging from exquisitely crafted fine press volumes to documented performances to one-of-a-kind installations that “break the bindings” and redefine conventional notions of book form and content.