When making books and making art intersect, the results are sometimes provocative, often unpredictable and always engaging. Artists’ books take many shapes: the familiar codex form, scrolls and banners, pop-up and flag books, to name a few.
The Bowdoin College Library’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives collects artists’ books to complement other examples of fine bookbinding, printing, type design and printmaking in its book arts collection, primarily in support of the College’s curriculum. Classes in printmaking and drawing, in art history, and in literature and linguistics draw heavily from these resources for inspiration and for learning.
Book sculptures, in which book artists appropriate the book as an object and rework it into visual art, reflect the artist’s own visual reinterpretation of the original form. For the viewer, these sculptures transform the process of reading text into viewing art, and they compel us to reevaluate the concept of the book in ways that would otherwise be unimaginable.
Currently on display on the third floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library are examples of book sculpture by five contemporary book artists:
Crystal Cawley and Rebecca Goodale, both from Portland, Maine; Mary Howe, of Stonington, Maine; Guy LaramÃ©e of Montreal, Canada; and Irmari Nacht, of Englewood, N.J. The exhibition runs through the end of the year.