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Mapping the West, part two: the exhibition

May 14, 2009

Mapping the West art collaboration between Wirral Metropolitan College (Liverpool, England) and Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah)

May 7-May 20, 2009
Gallery 303, Main Gallery (beyond the opening hallway and into the main gallery) Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU (SE corner)
Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm

Upon returning from our camping trip, we each had three days (two for me, since I went to work one of those days) to put together a book-art object* for the show.

The theme was the title of this blog post: Mapping the West. Each of us was given a map of Escalante, Southern Utah. Our artwork was to somehow incorporate the map (either conceptually or physically), and the artwork also had to somehow collapse down into the dimensions of the folded map. (It also wasn’t supposed to contain more square inches than the map itself–though some of us may have bent on that rule, I’m not sure).

Considering the amount of time, there was some really good (and a lot of it!) work produced–35 pieces in all. I was surprised how well-received the show was. I think part of the audience’s engagement was due to the subject matter–so many of us locals have always loved southern Utah. It was interesting to see how our Liverpudlian friends interpreted the red-rock terrain.

The day after the show went up, our Liverpool friends returned home. I’m sure the whole experience was a whirlwind for them (it was for me), and I do believe they had a good time. As I mentioned in my last post, Wirral College has their own blog that they have kept, devoted to the Mapping the West project. It can be found here.

The show will be at BYU for another week or so. Then it will be packaged up and shipped off to Liverpool to be exhibited there.


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* (Warning, the following is a bit of a soap-box on my feelings toward “book-arts”)

I still struggle with the term “book arts…” I find it interesting that so many universities and students are having students make so-called books. Most of these students (and indeed, many instructors) are not actually trained in bookbinding…consequentially, the resulting “book” is often not actually a “book,” but more of a sculptural object. Being a bit of a snob for craftsmanship, I often thumb my nose at the whole book-arts scene–simply for the fact that so much of it seems haphazard and thrown-together. Perhaps if we called them book-art sculptures, or textual sculptures, or something else… I don’t know. The term book art has definitely taken on its own meaning over the past decade or two. It forces other kinds of “book arts” to have their own terms such as “livre d’artist,” “fine press book” or “design binding” etc etc. It all gets quite confusing. I suppose it’s just that with the proliferation of interest in bookbinding, everyone–including painters and sculptors and printmakers–wants to try their hand at making “books,” and perhaps I just need to let book-arts be what it seems to have become! And anyway–notwithstanding me being a book-arts snob–it was fun doing this show…(though in my own biased opinion, this show was much better than most university “book arts” shows I’ve seen) ;)

(Stepping down from soapbox now).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2009 5:22 pm

    I hear you on the book-ness question. There’s off-and-on discussions on the lists of “what is a book?” … once I thought I was doing a reductio ad absurdum, saying it was going too far, and that nobody would walk into a museum of 18th century sculptures and say, “ooh, look at all the pretty books!” … to which I got a ton of heated responses saying that a Degas ballerina and a pretty (real-life or painted) landscape were just as much a “book” as the “restrictive” (and in one person’s words, which I think may actually not have been tongue-in-cheek, “patriarchal”) codex. Figured I’d not wade into that argument again!

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  1. Posts about Sculptural arts as of May 15, 2009 | Tatuaj.org

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