A Symbiosis of Script, Font, and Form: A Selection of Artists' Books

Through March 31, 2022
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries

Symbiosis of Script, Font, and Form: A Selection of Artists’ Books is a look at books from Bridwell Library Special Collections in which artists or circles of collaborators have integrated corporeal elements of the book form into the literature in sensitive and sometimes astounding ways.

Discernable amid the plant fiber paper, vellum, oil and pigment pastes, linen thread, tanned leather, and other material of floral, faunal, mineral, or synthetic origin, is a responsive environment that seems to bloom at each opening. In some books the precise arrangement may have been decided from the beginning and only required crafting. For others the makers may have begun with a vision less arrant, and used artistic and artisanal processes to discover what lifts the book above its substance. Regardless the finished book will offer words that can be spoken and heard, paper that can be weighed in the hand and felt on the fingertips, ink that is forever as rich on the page as it had been on the press, geometry that cuts through the book page by page, a flow of alphabetic characters familiar and then seen for the first time, all enmeshed, all bound in organic synthesis, together surpassing any individual contributions.

The exhibited selections are in no way comprehensive as an array of twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists’ books. No particular thread in the history of printing or Western book arts was tracked. No succession of artists was deliberately followed. Rather, each book was included for its own sake, on its own terms, in its appeal to human hands, minds, and spirits.

Jon Speck and Rebecca Howdeshell, co-curators

Credits

Bridwell Library Special Collections, SMU