Where does a book transcend the printed page and become a work of art? For the artists showcasing their works in the exhibition Word | Image | Object at the Denver Public Library's Western History and Genealogy Department (WHG), now through December 20, 2019, books and pieces of art are one and the same.
If you're not familiar with artists books, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Artists' books run the gamut from special editions of familiar works, such as a letterpressed edition of On the Road by Ed Ruscha, to pieces like 50 Revolutions by Helen Heibert, which move far beyond traditional ideas of what a book should look like.
Alicia Bailey, Director of Abecedarian Artists Books, who curated the exhibit with Special Collection Librarian Brian Trembath, describes artists books as:
"I think of artists' books as interactive sculptural objects, but a more broad definition is that artists' books are works of art based on the book form. As to the artists who create them, many are artists who discover the delights of creating tactile, time-based objects. Typically book artists thrive on developing relationships between content and form, who are interested in creating intimate works in which there are multiple complex issues to resolve either as individuals or as part of a collaborative team. Such issues often include use of a wide range of materials and technique, interactivity, pairing of word and image and sequencing."
What all artists books have in common, however, is that they represent the spirit of their creators and endeavor to express deep emotions and expressions.
The 35 pieces in Word | Image | Object were curated by Alicia Bailey, Director, Abecedarian Artists Books, and Brian Trembath, Special Collection Librarian at the Western History and Genealogy Department and the exhibition includes bookworks created by artists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Egypt. The exhibition contains works from the Denver Public Library's Douglas Fine Printing Collection alongside works lent by the artists for this exhibition.
Word | Image | Object focuses on works that present a balance of word and image in which the content, or topic of the book, conceptually and functionally supports the object's structure.
This exhibit is free to the public and open the same hours as Denver Public Library's Central Branch. For more information, please call 720-865-1821.