Marc Addison Brown
Mary V. Marsh
Thomas Parker Williams
Ugly Duckling Press
Welcome to the online catalog for The Printed Page exhibition, held at Abecedarian Gallery February 21 - April 5, 2014.
The exhibition features a broad range of both wall-works and book works that utilize hand-printed elements in their production. The works in the exhibition were selected by juror's Jessy Randall and Aaron Cohick.
The exhibit features I’m the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College, and I sometimes teach a course called The History and Future of the Book. One of the questions we ask in that class, over and over, is: what is a book? Jurying the Abecedarian show made me ask that question in a new way. I didn’t have to think about how something would be useful in teaching, or whether it would fit on a bookshelf, or how I would preserve it long-term; I could simply respond to the work of art as a viewer and a reader. This turned out to be a lot of fun, especially because I co-juried with Aaron Cohick, Printer at the Press at Colorado College, and got to see how he thinks about books and book arts. Frequently, he pointed out something in a work that I wouldn’t have seen on my own, like inking or stamping techniques. I found something to appreciate in everything submitted to the exhibition and was sorry we couldn’t choose it all. The show we put together is, perhaps, a visual representation of the difficulty of defining bookness and the blurriness of the line between book and not a book.
Jessy & I had to consider the book-ness of the books and the broadside-ness of the broadsides (what makes a print a broadside?). We also had to take into account the printed-ness of their printing: how and why were these pieces printed? Does the printing play a critical role in determining the aesthetic and content of the piece? Ultimately our decisions about what to include covered a wide range of approaches to both form and content: from traditional “fine printing” to dirty “make-it-happen-printing,” text-based books & broadsides and image-based books & broadsides, book books and sculptural books, political books and personal books. Each of the selected pieces possesses a coherence as a whole, printed object, a complete and engaging work of art.