Fourth in a series of international exhibitions of contemporary artists’ books, this year’s Cornucopia showcases 50 works by 43 artists from the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The works were selected by Mary Murphy, Visual Resources Librarian at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia.
As a librarian, I have worked with a phenomenal collection of artists’ books at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s ACA Library in Atlanta for over five years. In my position, I see hundreds of students in individual appointments or in classes over the course of a year. Students, I have noticed, often first consider whether they would be able to make what it is they’re seeing. As a former art student, I can understand that motivation. One can also approach book arts with a perspective that is less encumbered by ambition to create. There are countless ways to approach book arts, but these are two perspectives that I experience. While I am intensely interested in how a work was made and how well it was made, I also enjoy letting go of that preoccupation and being swept up in the vision of the artist.
I was honored to serve as the juror of the 2013 Artist’s Book Cornucopia. It is a competition that consistently attracts high quality submissions. This year, there were an unprecedented one hundred seventy-seven such submissions, and I was challenged to select only fifty for the exhibition and catalog.
I selected a diverse group of books, including sculptural works with no text, works with intricate folded sections, cut paper, and all manner of printing. Although artists’ books are best experienced in person, the evidence of thoughtfulness, imagination, and skillful work was clear in the images I received. I approached my task carefully and looked at craft, statement, concept, and originality. The works I chose communicated effortlessly, though anyone who has made a book knows that there is quite a lot of effort involved. When production and communication come together in an artist’s book the allure of the object is unmistakable.