Seager Gray Gallery Pulls out the Stops for the12th Annual Art of the Book Exhibition
Seager Gray Gallery presents The Art of the Book, 2017. This signature show for the gallery is in its 12th year and includes 36 works by 24 artists. The exhibition runs from May 3 to May 31, 2017. There is a reception for the artists on Saturday, May 6 from 5:30 to 7:30. A full color catalog accompanies the exhibition Jody Alexander, Islam Aly, Mary Ellen Bartley, Tony Bellaver, Kim Henigman Bruce, Valérie Buess, Tony Dagradi, Foolscap Press, Casey Gardner, Ximena Perez Grobet, Andrew Hayes, Charles Hobson, Lisa Kokin, Emma Lloyd, Emily Payne, Susan Porteous, Steph Rue, Vita Wells, Barbara Wildenboer, Nanette Wylde and Sandy Young.
Over the years, the gallery has become known for their focus on book-related material and has attracted artists from around the world working in these media. Among these are Valérie Buess from Germany, whose rolled pages of books seem to replicate spiny creatures found in nature and Barbara Wildenboer from South Africa. Her carved pages create a plantlike form emanating from the center of the pages. Her choice this year was “Brave New World” a subtle commentary on current events. Also topical is Lisa Kokin’s amazing work Not Like excerpting Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus,” inscribed on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty as a welcome to immigrants. The piece bears the complete text of the poem written with shredded money and thread, although by the end it is unreadable. She chose the title, Not Like, because it is both the first two words of the poem and a double entendre, the most basic explanation of the phenomenon of xenophobia. British artist Emma Lloyd wields her exacto knife on a book examining wingdings. By using Wingdings, carefully carving the shapes into the surface of the pages, she further mystifies language expanding the possibilities for multiple associations the way emoticons function in social media – both a tool for communication and a new opportunity for misunderstanding.
Limited edition and unique handmade books offer examinations of subjects from Mermaids (Charles Hobson) to an in-depth consideration of Gravity (Casey Gardner) and a wonderful story by Patricia Highsmith (of The Talented Mr. Ripley fame) about a giant Snail from Foolscap Press with beautiful linoleum cut prints by Peggy Gotthold. The exhibition also features the exquisite work of Mary Ellen Bartley whose photographs of stacked paperbacks are a Morandi-like study in subtle shape and color differences.
Books offer a wealth of associations for people, both for their content and their physical properties. This yearly exploration has become a favorite in the Bay Area, expanding the notion of what a book can be.