Subscribe to The Blue Notebook: Journal for artists’ books, published by Wild Conversations Press, edited by Sarah Bodman, UWE, Bristol, UK, to read our invited contribution, and other tales by other folk. Inside Volume 12, No. 2 Spring – Summer 2018 (pp. 6–14), you’ll find us talking about our artists’ books within Looped, at State Library Victoria.
Head to Book Arts to subscribe (hard copy and digital).
Our now! A recent collage commission for The Big Issue, 'Love Summer' edition No 552, Tuesday 26th December, 2017 – Thursday 11th January, 2018, to illustrate Chris Kennett’s look at 2017, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Donald’.
Please purchase a copy of The Big Issue today, from your favourite vendor to read the article.
Delighted to chance upon our birds in our artists' book, Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds, in a promotion for Artspace Mackay's "diverse collection of artists' books," which you can "enjoy in the Tate Adams Reading Pod, a purpose-built space for visitors to have unprecedented access to the collection" (in the latest Art Guide).
Turn the page. Get up close, and enjoy.
Civic Centre Precinct, Gordon Street
Little penguins, emus, and lorikeets! We've been talking about Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds on the radio, fleetingly, sheepishly.
You can hear us prattling and chirruping,
In conversation with Sara Savage, Parallel Lines, RRR, Wednesday 7th of December, 2016
In conversation with Stefanie Kechayas, Arts Weekly, 3MBS, Saturday 26th of November, 2016
And in print,
'The Inner Heartbreak of Birds is Revealed by Flight Paths in Australian Art,' Financial Review, Saturday 25th of November, 2016
Our artists' book, And we stood alone in the silent night (2008), in the collection of the State Library of Queensland, is discussed by Siganto Foundation Research Fellow, Victoria Cooper, in Reading Montages: perceptions, dilemmas, edges and resolution.
Responding to terminology dilemma:
As I progress through the research I am continually confronted with terminology issues and questions regarding the nature of montage and its intersection with collage. The dilemma is with me as a kind of Sisyphean cycle where, after climbing the mountain of wondrous diversity in the Australian Library of Art artists’ book collection; I am drawn back down by the weighty issues of inconsistent terminology.
Many artists, who cut, arrange and glue disparate and/or mixed media elements refer to their work as collage or for computer made images, digital collage. This should be the end of the debate as the etymology of collage is the French word ‘to glue’. But there are others who cut and piece together disparate elements and ‘glue’ and then fuse them within the image and refer to their process as montage (or digital montage for computer images). Also interesting to note is that the origin of the word montage is a French word meaning ‘to mount’. Is there a need to differentiate between these similar practices? Does terminology affect the ‘reading’ of these works? In my art practice I refer to myself as a montage maker, thinker and reader and as such I bring my own perspective to reading visual narratives.
Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, who prefer to be known as paper artists, make collage works. Their unique state artists’ books and democratic multiples in the form of zines and editions of artists’ books have a place within this discussion.
Haby and Jennison responded to my email question regarding the nature of the digital work in their book, And we stood alone in the silent night, where they state that: ‘Digital collages are made in chorus with unique state pieces. They are all a means of making, with the ‘how’ of lesser interest to us than the ‘why’ or ‘message’.
In their statement above they suggest that the means of the making is secondary to the final work. Even when the collage has been digitally scanned and then printed it remains, for them, a collage.
The book, And we stood alone in the silent night, presents the reader with an enchanted narrative through the composition of images and poetic texts across the pages. Underpinning the reading is the smooth and seamless joins of the elements creating a surreal landscape with a theatre of colourful inhabitants. The compositional elements draw the reader into a kind of Alice in Wonderland experience of reading: where the fused elements are arranged in a mise en page; and the turning page emulates the scenes of a paper movie [i]. The small size text comes through the reading as a poetic aside to underscore the scene.
Haby and Jennison’s careful cutting and pasting of added elements over or alongside the original image distinguish their broader collage work. Again, in these works the silent edges between these interventions and the original image provide uninterrupted reading. Importantly as this transition or interval between the elements goes unnoticed the added element ultimately colonize the interior space and time of the original image.
[i] Lou Stoumen is the author of visual books including Can’t Argue With Sunrise: A Paper Movie (1975)
Cutting The Collection and Thumb Through
From the Performing Arts Collection blog
One of the most rewarding things about being custodians of this great Collection is seeing the surprising ways in which people engage with history to create new work. The Performing Arts Collection is a valuable resource for students, historians, writers, documentary makers, designers and other arts practitioners seeking to find out more about Australia’s rich performing arts history. Every once in a while someone comes along and re-imagines the Collection in ways we never thought possible.
Artists and avid theatre-goers, Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison visited the Research Service earlier this year and found a treasure trove of imagery ripe for digital re-interpretation. The result of their investigations can be found in two new zines, Cutting The Collection and Thumb Through which were recently launched at the Melbourne Art Book Fair at the National Gallery of Victoria. Gracia speaks eloquently about the thought process behind Cutting The Collection informed by "the ephemeral nature of dance; the thrill of a live performance and the trace it leaves; notions of recording what was, whilst not ever able to capture or document it fully; and the importance of such collections." You can read more about the creative process and development here.
Not content with one remarkable publication, Gracia and Louise hit upon the idea of creating Thumb Through as both a flip book and as a moving collage which re-energises the static images in new and unexpected ways. Both publications evoke the brilliant, always ephemeral energy captured (but not quite) in the objects left behind after the curtain has come down.
We are thrilled to have our artists' book, As inclination directs (2013), feature in The Craft Companion by Ramona Barry and Rebecca Jobson, published by Thames & Hudson.
Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison create jewel-like collages that read like inverted historical society presentations. They are also keen zine and artist book makers who fill the pages of their brilliantly executed output with imagined worlds, were leopards rule kingdoms, birds wrestle with moral dilemmas and foxes have tea parties.
On the State Library of Victoria's blog, thanks to Anna Metcalfe, you can read all about our collaborative work.
Gracia & Louise on making artists' books: This month we welcome guest bloggers Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, the artists who created the spectacular piece featured on the cover of the latest La Trobe Journal. In this guest post, Gracia & Louise discuss their work with books and paper, and the nature of inspiration and collaboration.