Mary V. Marsh
Oakland, CA

Top: Famous Women $350
Bottom: The Shower Party Book $450

To Purchase Contact Abecedarian Gallery

Artist Statement

Collecting and reassembling discarded library books and cards, I think about how they have been read and transformed by time into historical remnants. Books and cards discarded from a community library imply a shared history of people reading the same books. Combining the ‘found’ phrases of the book titles to form poems, I use the cards as pages and tape or sew them into unique artist books. Images made with gouache, coffee and block prints intersect with the words to create a narrative. Re-reading history, consumer culture, and the future of reading are some of the ideas explored.

For years I have been collecting objects and images for The Female Icon Collection; popular figurines, book illustrations, product characters, archetypes of Woman, and real women in history. Famous Women and The Shower Party Book  are both illustrated from this collection. It’s about a journey that is a search for identity, trying on different female roles from media icons to protagonists identified within books. We are constantly reinventing ourselves and finding our place in the world.

About this Book - Famous Women

Gouache on found library checkout cards, linen tape, found book covers, 8 pages, accordion fold. 6 x 4 x .5 inches closed. Unique book.

About this Book - The Shower Party Book

Gouache on found library checkout cards, linen thread, linen tape, found book covers. 24 pages. 5.5 x 4 x .75 inches closed. Unique book.

Artist Biography

Mary V. Marsh was born in Portland, Oregon and has been making art and working in libraries in the Bay Area since 1982. She received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1992. She has exhibited in many venues in the Bay Area with solo shows at, San Francisco Art Commission at Grove Street, San Jose Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Center, and San Francisco Public Library, Skylight Gallery. Currently a member of Mercury 20 Gallery in Oakland, California, she makes unique and small edition artist books under Quite Contrary Press.

All images and text copyright the artist. All rights reserved.