17 September 2011

Art I like - Julie Leonard

This spread from Penland Book of Handmade Books shows one of the stiff-leaf books made by Julie Leonard.

She writes about the difficulties of exhibiting or displaying books: how can the piece successfully convey ideas in varied environments - as an object; in terms of handling it; and in terms of reading or engaging with it, which needs more time...

The book shown, fifty-two words, creates an arc where only about a third of the text/pages can be seen; they read mostly as an overall texture, derived from repeatedly-printed words. On handling, the book acts like a slinky - flipping through, you see cut-out shapes and the words printed in bold text. Paging through slowly, you see lightly-printed phrases on each page that refer to the word and shape.

"My hope with this piece was that each viewing worked on its own that there was a sense of resolution when the book could only be seen from one point, and that each further level enhanced its meaning, " she says, and goes on:

"Structure becomes an integral part of content. It helps to tell the story. ...I am concerned with creating objects where structure builds on the function and meaning of the piece. I also want the work to be beautiful in some way. ...In his essay [in Uncontrollable Beauty] James Hillman says,
"We want the world because it is beautiful, its sounds and smells and textures, the sensate presence of the world as body. In short, below the ecological crisis lies the deeper crisis of love, that our love has left the world. That the world is loveless results directly from the repression of beauty, its beauty and our sensitivity to beauty. For love to return to the world, beauty must first return... Beauty cannot enter art unless the mind in the work is anchored beyond itself so that in some way the finished work reflects the sacred (the world) and the doing of the work, ritual."

Images of her works in Masters: Book Arts are included in this review.

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