Seager Gray Gallery’s The Art of the Book, 2021.

Now in its 16th year, the Seager Gray Gallery‘s renowned annual The Art of the Book exhibit continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The exhibit, focused on a variety of art related to books, aims to hit as many buttons as possible in its investigation of text, image and form.

This year’s exhibit, which runs through May 30 and includes 45 works by 23 artists, features work from conceptual artists like Jody Alexander, Doug Beube, Renee Bott, Brian Dettmer, Beth Fein, Andrew Hayes, Charles Hobson, Lisa Kokin, Michele Landel, Sophie Lavigne, Patricia Leeds, Martin Lesinski, Kent Manske and Nanette Wylde, Amandine Nabarra, Emily Payne, Leslie Pearson, Lia Roozendaal, Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder,  Tennille Davis Shuster, Brian Singer,  Maro Vandorou and Barbara Wildenboer.

A virtual reception will be held on Sunday, May 23rd from 2 to 4 pm.
“Great art often inspires multiple associations,” says curator Donna Seager. The associations we have with books, both for their content and form make them a rich resource for artistic expression.” Add to that the beauty of materials, the paper, bindings, threads, inks and illustrations. In the hands of an artist, they provide an exciting opportunity for creative exploration. 

Among the offerings this year is a work by Martin Lesinski entitled Beyond the Reach of Reason, a poignant book chronicling Lesinski’s experiences as a disabled veteran. “The living cells of this book are words, my words, strung together to communicate my personal experiences as a combat veteran, a disabled veteran, a disabled person in this society called America,” he says. The paper of the book is pulped by a veteran from uniforms worn by veterans. The cover, replicating the body armor worn by soldiers is Kevlar covered in camo fabric from fatigues donated by veterans. The binding of this book is stitched with medical sutures – the same material used by surgeons in their attempts to make the wounded whole.

Vandorou’s the book of whispers appears entirely delicate and white, enclosed in an elegant frosted plexiglas box, but it is filled with sacred texts in both English and Greek from six gold lamellae (thin gold tablets) belonging to women initiates to Orphism, giving specific instructions for the soul to follow on its perilous journey to the Afterlife. The text is written in watermarks and can be read with a lighted wand.

Other artists veer away from text and approach the book as form. Hayes marries the permanence of steel to the fluidity of paper. “The pages allow me to achieve a form, surface, and texture that are appealing to me,” he says. He takes his sensory appreciation for the book as a material and employs the use of exquisitely fabricated steel to create a new form and hopefully a new story. While Leslie Pearson’s Conductive Apparatus uses book pages, gut and wire to create an imagined contraption.

The 411: Seager Gray Gallery‘s annual The Art of the Book exhibit runs through May 23. 108 Throckmorton Ave. MORE INFO.

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