FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EXHIBITION FEATURES ARTISTS' BOOKS FROM REED COLLEGE COLLECTION
Local visual artists include Cynthia Lahti, Eric Stotik, and Alicia Justus
Portland, OR (August 11, 2003) — Bibliocosmos, an exhibition of artists' books from the Reed College collection, will be on display to the public for the first time in Reed’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery from August 27 through October 5. The exhibition, curated by Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder, contains a wide spectrum of artists' books from the early 20th century to the present; it features both internationally acclaimed artists such as Marc Chagall and Fernand Léger and local artists including Cynthia Lahti, Eric Stotik, and Alicia Justus.
Designers Alysha Naples and Brian Huffines from San Francisco’s Blue Green Design will demonstrate custom silk-screening on exhibition posters free to visitors on opening night, September 4, at 7 p.m. at the gallery. Both the exhibition and demonstration are free and open to the public.
John Held, Jr., a mail and communication arts authority, will present a public talk: "The Use of Rubber Stamps in the Development of the Russian Avant-Garde Book and Other Beginnings." The lecture will be held in the Reed psychology auditorium on September 16 at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is open every day except Monday from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is in Reed’s Hauser Memorial Library. For more information, please call 503/777-7251 or visit http://web.reed.edu/gallery.
Reed's artist book collection
Reed College has collected illustrated books since its inception, but the current collection of artists' books has been developed in the last 10 years, primarily through the efforts of Geraldine Ondrizek, associate professor of art at Reed. "Gerri's commitment to teaching led her to acquire artists' books for instructional purposes, but also for artistic inspiration," says Snyder. "As a humanistic, liberal arts college, Reed has diligently built collections of illustrated print material, such as manuscripts, art books, and calligraphy."
"Artists’ books are, in part, an extension of studio practice and another forum for exploring conceptual and aesthetic situations," says Snyder. "Books by their nature are time-based phenomena; they are also concealable, distributable, and highly personal. All of these factors have drawn artists to this medium."
The title of the exhibition, Bibliocosmosor "book universe," refers to artists’ books as a complex and multivalent universe. Artists' books were made possible in the late 19th century with the help of lithography and chromolithography. Machine lithography made refined color imagery and mass printing feasible and potentially profitable. Poets and artists such as Alfred Jarry and Paul Gaugin self-initiated early projects in France, and the Dadaists in Zurich created their own imprimatur, Collection Dada, in 1916. Fine art collaborations between writers and artists became the standard — referred to as the livre d’artiste. The earliest piece in Bibliocosmos — from 1919 — is a collaboration between artist Fernand Léger and author Blaise Cendrars. Other examples in the exhibition include fine-press editions, unique printed and handmade books, serial editions, and alternative-press publications.
Bibliocosmos also contains works by several Portland artists. Two who create one-of-a-kind projects that approach books as sites of intervention and revision are Cynthia Lahti and Eric Stotik. Both Lahti and Stotik use preexisting printed material as catalysts for rich, enigmatic works.
In Oregon Caves (1996), Lahti transforms a 1970s color Park Service publication by interweaving collage elements from fashion magazines and medical textbooks with the book’s cave photographs. In another work, Fun With Figures (1994), Lahti draws detailed colored-ink images of children and adolescents on each page of an early geometry textbook.
Eric Stotik creates highly detailed collages in pre-existing books given to him by others. Left untitled, Stotik relates that his book works are spaces for exploring ideas in a non self-conscious yet precise manner. In one work (2002), Stotik appropriates a WWII-era book depicting Nazi medals and uniforms and juxtaposes the Nazi imagery with explicit color imagery of medical diseases, interweaving the two in crisp linear patterns. Together, the bodies of information speak about the diseased and sadistic aspects of political control.
*Editor’s note: Digital images of selected works from Bibliocosmos available upon request.
About the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery
The Cooley Gallery's staff manages a permanent collection of works from America and Europe of the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection began with the founding of the college and has been maintained and supplemented ever since. Periodic exhibitions of the permanent collection are held in the gallery, and pieces can be seen throughout Reed’s campus.
Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915).
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