Artists’ books show runs through October 20 in Currey Gallery
Winners of the book arts exhibition Familiar Relics were announced during an opening night reception on October 5 in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film.
Staged in association with the second annual Handmade & Bound Nashville book arts festival (Oct. 4-6 at Watkins), Familiar Relics features more than 30 works that speak to the familiarity and evolution of the book.
First place was awarded to Kerri Cushman (Farmville, VA) for “Measuring Up,” pictured at right; second place to Amandine Nabarra Piomelli (Irvine, CA) for “Bernoulli Equation”; and third place to Candace Hicks (Athens, TX) for “Common Threads Volume XXXIV.” Honorable mention went to Joseph Lappie (Davenport, IA), for “The Artificer Arisen, The Artificer Fallen.”
Tony White, director of the Decker Library at the Maryland Institute College of Art, served as exhibition juror. He is field editor for artist’s books and books for artists for the College Art Association’s online reviews journal caareviews.org and a founder of the Contemporary Artist’s Book Conference in New York.
Regional book artists and instructors Annie Herlocker (Paper Revival Press) and Jennifer Knowles-McQuistion (Brown Dog Bindery) curated the exhibition, which is on view daily through Saturday, October 20, in the Currey Gallery. Admission is free.
Currey Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 pm. For more information, visit handmadeboundnashville.com or Watkins.edu.
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. in MetroCenter (free parking is available in the campus lot).
About Handmade & Bound Nashville
Handmade & Bound Nashville is an annual celebration of artists’ books, zines, mini-comics and other independent publications held at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. Presented by the Watkins Library and Community Education department, the free, family-friendly festival features hands-on activities in the book arts, demonstrations of techniques and crafts, and dozens of vendors and distributors, in addition to a juried gallery exhibition, panel discussion, and community art project. All events are free and open to the public.
Handmade & Bound Nashville, Vol. 2 is supported in part by a grant from the William N. Rollins Fund for the Arts of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The festival and its activities are part of Artober, the city-wide initiative celebrating the arts throughout October (artobernashville.com). Visit handmadeboundnashville.com or contact the Watkins Library at 615.277.7427.
Pictured above: Exhibition curators Jennifer McQuistion and Annie Herlocker with Watkins President Ellen L. Meyer
Familiar Relics winners
Kerri Cushman (Farmville, VA)
So…what is a book?
Is it defined by its form?
Could a book, like a vessel, be a container of knowledge, or is it just a sequence of spaces?
Should it be confrontational or conversational?
But most importantly, what can a book do?
Constructing interactive artist books, my work wraps ubiquitous objects with a fresh visual language by melding iconic imagery and text. My interest lies in examining a sequence of events that repeats––cycles. Whether it is birthdays, fleeting comments, or daily rituals that go unnoticed, these pieces provide an intimate glimpse into the routine complexity of personal narratives from our daily life. In turn, these ideas are transformed into a mixture of real and surreal chronicles by using handmade paper, letterpress, various prints and unique structures to expand the realm of what constitutes a book. I see sculptural artists’ books as an interdisciplinary link––a nexus between tradition and the future.
Amandine Nabarra Piomelli (Irvine, CA)
My work starts with a photograph and I let the image take me on a journey. I usually decide to work on an idea that is intriguing to me like fantasy worlds - Imaginary Biology - or human experiences - Secret Love, The Caretaker. Sharing mental visions and visual stories requires unusual printing supports. It can be a special paper that I hand-coat with albumen or gesso, a system of thread that allows the image to float, a sonic montage or a sequence that will lead to creating an artist’s book. It is an exciting challenge to transform an abstract idea into something palpable that can be shared with others.
Candace Hicks (Athens TX)
“Common Threads Volume XXXIV”
I have collected coincidences for ten years. It started with reading two books in a row that both included the phrase “antique dental instrument.” That was not the first coincidence I ever noticed in my reading, but after that I made a commitment to keep a record. The phrase might have been the profound masquerading as the mundane. As it turned out, “antique dental instrument” has not held any special meaning in my life or my art. Neither have any of the coincidental phrases that followed, such as “stuffed mountain lion” or “black currant lozenge,” but the act of noticing them became the lens through which I filter the world and my experiences.
Taking note of coincidences is akin to the kind of observation a landscape or portrait artist practices. As a reader, I naturally gravitate toward creating books and printing. My observations take the form of hand-stitched texts that I call Common Threads. Sewing every line, letter, and illustration in the books enhance their status as objects. By laboring over a dime store composition book, painstakingly recreating it by hand, I have found a way to express the insignificant as potentially philosophical. Just as a landscape or portrait painter’s observations allow them to reproduce a version of reality, my scrutiny of repetition creates a narrative.
Joseph Lappie, Peptic Robot Press (Davenport, IA)
“The Articifer Arisen, The Articifer Falllen”
Everything seems to be about death, sex, relationships, faith and personal space. Most times I find that these fascinations are aesthetically interchangeable, or at least an amalgam of experience. Not in the sense of what they are, but in terms of the confusion and frustration experienced while trying to comprehend these assured actualities.
I like to know things and feel in control of my destiny, but these are things I can never really know and certainly can’t control. On an individualized level I experience them daily, through consumption or thought or love, but their largeness? It remains elusive. I’m conflicted as to if this is comforting or infuriating. My work seeks to come to terms with this inevitable unknowing. The figures I draw fail to master their circumstance or situation. Their folly is inevitable and universal. The creation of flawed characters might appeal to me in the same way that it might appeal to a god. This is not meant to be sacrilege, but instead similarity. Frankenstein meant well. So did Moreau.
I continue to struggle with my insecurities, with our insecurities. I wrestle with my inadequacies, with our inadequacies. Through the exploration of human limitations, I hope to one day find meaning I can hold on to.
Photos from the Familiar Relics opening reception by Samantha Angel
Special thanks to Eight O’ Five Jive!
Patrons also enjoyed the Zine-O-Rama in the Watkins Library, on display through this month.