Crumpling a Thin Sheet, by Rutherford Witthus
Celebrating the Sculptural Book: The Challenge of Structure
Dodd Research Center Gallery
Curators: Kristin Eshelman and Norman Stevens
At a time when, for better or for worse, libraries are moving rapidly toward providing information
in digital formats and away from the printed book format, artists’ books represent an homage to the book as a physical
object. Many of the best artists’ books have sculptural qualities that encompass three dimensions and are created
through carving or modeling materials. Extending the idea of sculpting, or processing materials, to include other
actions opens up the concept of a built structure whose materials are arranged in a purposeful pattern.
The book artists who have created the sculptural works displayed in this exhibit address such ideas as endurance,
political action, randomness, relationships between body and structure, remembrance, and the written word. They have studied,
and mastered, arts and trades that emphasize the shaping and arranging of letters, materials, and patterns. Architecture,
binding, calligraphy, cartography, printing, and sculpture are some of their tools. Their art produces structures that are
created through carving stone, crumpling paper, and writing letters as they assemble and arrange these elements into a
fascinating book, each with a unique identity. They demonstrate that the book is alive and well.
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