These pieces are work created for my senior thesis show in college. At some point in the beginning of the year, we had a bookmaking workshop. I fell in love with the process of making artistic books and decided that would be the focus of my thesis project.
The subject of the first book to be made was "Structure", echoing and expanding on my interest in
drawing bones. Though I had visions of casting the covers in bronze or sculpting leather, they are made
of sculpey painted with Acrylic paint. Some of the images were drawn by me, but many were appropriated
from books. They were all applied to their various paper types through a lacquer thinner transfer
process, and the pages were colored using a variety of materials including gouache, iron, rabbit skin
glue, wax and acrylic medium.
Select any of the thumbnails to see them larger:
|front cover||back cover||spread 1||spread 2||spread 3|
When the book was finished, it was clear to me that it just would not do to display it on a plain white pedestal; I had to figure out a better object for it to rest on. While I was figuring that out, it occurred to me that one of my drawings would go well over it, turning the original idea of only making books into installation pieces. The bone stand took a week to construct, including figuring out how to make it stable.
The skull in back of the book is a deer skull; the one in front is a bobcat. The one at the bottom is a dog. I got the deer and dog skulls from antique shops, and the bobcat from a taxidermist. The smaller vertebrae and the hip bones on which the book rests are from a deer hit by a train. The large vertebrae, ribs, and leg bones are cow bones from my friend Corwyn. The ribs wouldn't stand without reinforcement, so I set up a lower framework with 6 wooden poles.
|bone stand 1||bone stand 2|
Nature and Technology
The second book created was nature meeting technology; a combination of my exploration of Photoshop and my love of plants. I was just learning Photoshop, so was in that beginning experimental stage of scanning whatever I could think of and then figuring out how to warp those scans with all the different filters in Photoshop. I transfered the printed results onto rice paper, and pasted in pressed leaves, flowers, seeds, snakeskins and feathers. The cover of this book is metal with a computer chip connected through the suggestion of circuitry to a leaf skeleton. The hinges are computer ribbon cable.
|book cover||spread 1||spread 2|
The third book was a collection of arcane symbols. Now, the point of this one was entirely artistic - to create a mood. I wasn't trying to create a user manual or anything. But this was apparently lost on a lot of people, as the piece became surprisingly controversial.
This one had a metal cover, too. I found metal sheets that had some sort of brownish coating on them, which could be scratched off with a metal stylus, so I scratched into them the symbol I found for summoning angels. The pages inside were parchment, but treated with earth-toned pigments and then dragged through puddles, mud, and burnt. The images in this one were of arcane symbols from all kinds of sources, including voodoo, numerology, Asian imagery, and religious imagery from various holy books.
I built a wooden podium for this one to be displayed on, and draped it in long pieces of black velvet that covered the sides, puddled on the floor, went up the front, down the back a bit, then swooped up to the ceiling. I put the book on the slanted face of the podium, but I built a flat back/top to it on which I placed a metal incense burner and some candles. The 2-dimensional piece for this one was a large symbol painted on a black background on a wooden board.
|"altar"||book front||spread 1||voodoo spread|
The Whole Installation
I didn't have much space to set these up in, since the show was for the entire class, and in fact, since I arrived late to set up my work, I was relegated to the antichamber of this particular gallery. In the end, that worked out to my favor, as that was actually the first room people passed through, with nothing around but the refreshment table to distract them from my work. In the first photo, you see the arrangement as if returning from the gallery.
|installation 1||installation 2|