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  Reader's Delight
June 24 - August 6, 2010
 

Summer is traditionally associated with reading for enjoyment, as a time to indulge in the guilty pleasures of best-sellers and how-to guides, as well as an opportunity to tackle lengthy literary tomes. The advent of digitized books and e-readers promises to transform reading by threatening the tangible qualities of the book with obsolescence. The familiar physical properties of books that reassure many readers are increasingly seen as hopelessly old-fashioned: shape, weight, cover design, typography, illustration, layout, smell, as well as the infinite vastness or tender intimacy of libraries and bookshelves. Reader's Delight explores some of the myriad ways artists express their reverence and affection for books and the act of reading. Several of the artists use actual books as an object to be altered, transfigured, and re-read, exemplified in very different forms in Matthew Higgs' conceptual transformations of framed and isolated abstract book cover designs, Mamiko Otsubo's enigmatic masks collaged from the pages and covers of art history books, Donna Ruff's Rorschach-like patterns burned on the pages of Freud, Tom Burckhardt's re-purposed book covers used as grounds for his fanciful paintings, and Yohei Nishimura's kiln-fired de-accessioned books, shrunken and shriveled into fragile and lightweight wasp's nests of bound leaves and cover. In other works, artists isolate and transform aspects of book design and its systems of classification, as in Mary Ellen Bartley's Morandi-like anonymous stacks of paperback volumes, Erica Baum's poetic transformations of digitized indices and page edges, and Mickey Smith's monumentalized isolation of luxuriant leather book spines. Other artists create real or imaginary author portraits, as in Maira Kalman's affectionate images of famous books and writers and Martin McMurray's full-scale faux books replete with enigmatic titles and quirky and humorous author portraits. Richard Baker celebrates book design and typography in his gouache images of paperback books, Abelardo Morell conflates a crammed domestic bookshelf with a Tuscan landscape in his camera obscura image, and Jean Lowe creates ersatz books and images of libraries as vehicles for social critique and humor. What unites these artists is their veneration of the book as both a physical form and as a conceptual font of wisdom and insight.
 
 
Richard Baker
The Job, 2005
Gouache on paper
12 x 10 inches

Richard Baker
Parables and Paradoxes, 2005
Gouache on paper
12 x 10 inches

Richard Baker
A Nest of Ninnies, 2009
Gouache on paper
12 x 10 inches
 
Mary Ellen Bartley
Untitled #22, 2009
Archival pigment print
Edition 4/7
12 x 18 inches

Mary Ellen Bartley
Untitled #23, 2009
Archival pigment print
Edition 2/7
12 x 18 inches

Erica Baum
Face, 2009
Pigment print
Edition 1/6
16 1/2 x 16 inches
 
Erica Baum
Untitled (Rather Than Reasons Why), 1999
Digital c-print
Edition 1/5
24 x 16 inches

Tom Burckhardt
English Literature, 2008
colored pencil and acrylic on book cover
12 3/8 x 19 1/4 inches

Tom Burckhardt
Queer Judson, 2008
colored pencil and acrylic on book cover
7 1/2 x 9 5/8 inches
 
Matthew Higgs
May 1963, 2006
Framed book cover
19 x 17 3/4 inches

Matthew Higgs
The Art of Real USA 1948-1968, 2006
Framed book cover
18 x 18 inches

Maira Kalman
Freud, 2007
Gouache on paper
9 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches
 
Maira Kalman
Proust Notebook, 2006
Gouache on paper
8 x 6 3/4 inches

Maira Kalman
Rotundiloba, 2009
Gouache on paper
11 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches

Maira Kalman
Turgenev, 2006
Gouache on paper
9 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches
 
Jean Lowe
Yes, Yes, Yes!, 2010
Enamel on wood
24 x 24 inches

Jean Lowe
Marble Top Little Bookcase, 2003
Enamel on papier-mâché
37 1/2 x 32 x 13 1/2 inches

Jean Lowe
Kindle: The Missing Manual, 2009
Enamel on papier-mâché
15 1/2 x 11 x 3 1/2 inches
 
Jean Lowe
The Secret, 2010
Enamel on papier-mâché
10 x 14 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches

Jean Lowe
Candida Hofer - Libraries - Essay by Umberto Eco, 2006
Enamel on papier-mâché
14 3/8 x 13 3/8 x 3 inches

Jean Lowe
Rationing Compassion, 2009
Enamel on papier-mâché
11 x 13 x 2 3/8 inches
 
Jean Lowe
Joy of Pickling - 200 Scenarios, 2009
Enamel on papier-mâché
10 x 8 x 2 1/8 inches

Martin McMurray
Know Your Lines and Act Your Part, 2007
Acrylic on wood
8 1/2 x 5 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches
Front

Martin McMurray
Know Your Lines and Act Your Part, 2007
Acrylic on wood
8 1/2 x 5 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches
Back
 
Martin McMurray
Razing the Burden of Self, 2007
Acrylic on wood
8 3/8 x 5 3/8 x 1 7/8 inches
Front

Martin McMurray
Razing the Burden of Self, 2007
Acrylic on wood
8 3/8 x 5 3/8 x 1 7/8 inches
Back

Martin McMurray
Strife, Calamity, and Other Good Fortune, 2007
Acrylic on wood
8 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches
Front
 
Martin McMurray
Strife, Calamity, and Other Good Fortune, 2007
Acrylic on wood
8 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches
Back

Abelardo Morell
Camera Obscura: View of Landscape Outside of Florence in Room with Bookcase, Italy, 2009
Pigment ink print
Edition 2/8
30 x 40 inches

Yohei Nishimura
Solid State Physics, 2009
Fired book
7 1/2 x 5 x 3 inches
 
Yohei Nishimura
Social Aspects of Industry, 2009
Fired book
9 x 5 1/2 x 3 inches

Yohei Nishimura
Solid State Physics, 2009
Fired book
7 x 6 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches

Mamiko Otsubo
p.120 (navy), 2010
Cut book pages with acrylic on linen book cover
11 x 9 inches
 
Mamiko Otsubo
p. 115 (cream, navy, brown), 2010
Cut book pages with acrylic on linen book cover
11 x 9 inches

Donna Ruff
Dreams 1, 2006
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Donna Ruff
Dreams 6, 2006
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
 
Donna Ruff
Dreams 7, 2007
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Donna Ruff
Dreams 14, 2007
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Donna Ruff
Dreams 15, 2007
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
 
Donna Ruff
Dreams 16, 2008
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Donna Ruff
Dreams 19, 2008
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Donna Ruff
Dreams 21, 2008
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
 
Donna Ruff
Dreams 22, 2008
Burnt book paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Mickey Smith
The Leisure Hour, 2007
Archival inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Matte Photo Rag
Edition 3/10
30 x 46 inches
 
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