Union Gallery Bookshelf Selection Project
March 9 - May 19, 2017 | Committed to Paper | Curated by Posy Legge
Located just outside the gallery - stop by any time of the day
Selections from Committed to Paper
This bookshelf selection presents a collection of contemporary artist publications- including zines, artist books and other self-published works on paper, showing diverse approaches to the medium of folded or bound paper. Some of these works are zines, intended as physical ephemera. The artists chose inexpensive printing with the intention to widely circulate a specific message- whether that message is political, humorous, instructional, or something completely different. Other artists shown here use the book not for its potential for serialization and dissemination, but rather for its potential for intimacy. Flippable paper demands that the willing reader must hold the piece in the hands in order to take it in. These works thus demand touch, as well as time. To read a book is different from looking at a painting on a wall, the sequence of pages allows the artist to guide the reader through a narrative, one-on-one.
(Front shelves) Ian Lyle's artist book takes that expectation of narrative and turns it inside out. This delicate and textural book shows scraps and clippings of images and materials that seem to have been at once defaced and handled with care. In his 1978 publication Lines, John Murchie provides us with words, some his own, and some borrowed, with the single contextual element of a hand-drawn line running throughout. Lynne Wynick's Union Gallery/studio shelf model view from Cezanne's window is a part of a series of her Matchbox Multiples— as the name suggests, this work comes in a small matchbox, which then slides open and folds out to show an immersive photographed view of the Union Gallery. Rachel Thornton's piece, part-artist-book, part-comic, takes us into a different sort of reality, a rich inky world of gathering twinkling stars on sandy beaches in an imaginative ritual of collection. Trevor Waurechen, Laura Watson, and Lisa Theriault's works all unfold clear sequences. Trevor provides the steps to drawing a portrait of the artist, Laura presents a gentle story of a girl growing up with a magical tree, and Lisa's zine "The Pillow Fort" resembles a flip-book, with an absurdity that comes from concluding exactly as one would expect.
(Back shelves) Melanie Nelson's "Tachycardia" is an intimate view of the complex emotional journey of a toxic relationship- from the racing heartbeats of an exciting first love to the chest thumping that accompanies fear and anxiety. With its dated entries, the work reads like a diary, and pen illustrations of hands animate the story and mimic the touch of the reader on its pages. Patrick Allaby's short comic presents a different sort of personal experience, a mundane morning of the young protagonist after returning to his parent's house. This quiet sequence of everyday tasks communicates a somewhat haunting ennui. Lisa Visser's series of comics touches on similar silent distress. Illustrating the daily struggle of being a person in the world through the frank conversations between a bird and a cat, the simplicity and sincerity of these little works aptly presents the fragility of emotions, with humour. Avalon Moore and Izzy Francolini, in "Becoming More Like a Kate Bush Music Video Circa 1978: The Tutorial We Have All Been Waiting For" and "Bush," both celebrate femininity- and the freedom of being a little silly. The visual pun in Izzy's lush and colourful zine appears again in the work of Samantha Aasen, which comes from a collective publication of contemporary feminist art, “Girls Don’t Do That,” curated by Joanna Kiely. The last in this selection is "The City is Our Canvas," in which Melissa Smallridge reminds us of the art that lies outside of the gallery- showing the vibrant graffiti and street art of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
If you are interested in taking a closer look at any of these pieces, we will have them available until May 31st in the resource area of the gallery.
Posy Legge is an artist and student, pursuing her Master’s in Art History at Queen’s University. Her research interests include 18th century material culture, Contemporary Indigenous art, and Museum studies.