Category Archives: Featured Artists

CBAA Member Showcase: Robbin Ami Silverberg

At the CBAA Member Showcase, I had the pleasure of seeing more artist’s books by Robbin Ami Silverberg.

I don’t know her personally, but one of her books, A Week of Jewels, has really stayed with me since I first met her last year at Codex. A Week of Jewels, using Ms. Silverberg’s own words, is “a book about a minor event, a missing ring, that signifies loss.” Perhaps because a dear friend of mine is dealing with his mother’s dementia, and perhaps because we all worry about our parent’s forgetfulness, this book is poignant and universal. It is also beautifully made using Ms. Silverberg’s own handmade paper. (She runs a papermaking studio, Dobbin Mill.)

Also at Codex, I found Home Sweet Home to be interesting and thought-provoking. From Ms. Silverberg’s website, “For this book about the home, I “designed” an architectural album of an imaginary middle-class suburban house, filling its plans and layout with the many proverbs I’ve found about woman in the home. The book was printed to look like the almost obsolete Diazo printing (blue-printing), but in fact, is archival inkjet. The proverbs depict a prevailing misogyny that is as funny as it is painful.”

At the CBAA conference this year,  I enjoyed a new-to-me work,  Affadavit.  Says Ms. Silverberg, “Istán Örkény’s story of the same name, from his collections of “One Minute Stories,” was the fillip for this small edition. This artist book about a ‘day in the life…’ of an artist spans segments of a day as seven statements of identity. Despite that each one ends with a declaration of forgery and fraud, Silverberg had them notarized by different notary officers. The process spurred discussions or even conflicts with the notary officers about identity. Each interaction was logged and described in the “Compendium to Affidavit”.

I find Robbin Ami Silverberg’s work to be strong in both content and form and encourage you to wander around her website to enjoy more of her many artists’ books.

This is the last blog post about the CBAA Member Showcase in which I’ll highlight an individual artist. Believe me there were many, many more artists that were more than deserving, these were just a few of the artists whose work spoke to me personally on that particular day. I’ll compile a list of some of the other artists and their websites so that you an experience more of the amazing work available for view at CBAA. I’ll also tell you more about the workshops and lectures that I attended and the interesting art that I was exposed to in those settings. Plenty more to tell you about CBAA. I’ll fit it in over the next few weeks.

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com

CBAA Member Showcase: Kent Manske, Nanette Wylde and PreNeo Press

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At the Member Showcase at the CBAA conference, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Kent Manske and Nanette Wylde. I’ve known both of them for several years, but somehow we always meet in situations where we’re doing something for the Bay Area Book Artists and we don’t have a lot of time to chat. I’ve seen very little of their work and I welcomed the opportunity to remedy that.

Collectively, Kent and Nanette are PreNeo Press. Kent was featuring one of their joint projects, Meaning Maker, at the member showcase. To borrow their own words from their website, “Meaning Maker is a guided interactive response structure tailored to specific styles of experience.” I picked up a few of the Meaning Makers at CBAA and it was both fun and introspective to work my way through them. I think because of how recently we had many family events, I had the most fun with the “Family Gathering” Edition. I’m still thinking about the TV show that best represents my family. You’ll find six editions including “Academic Conference,” “Art Viewing,” and “Periodic Personal Evaluation.” All are worth a look. You can download them here.

I quite enjoyed Nanette’s work, which I’d really only seen in the form of  Gray Matter Gardening. One of my favorites was Hello Catty! a collaboration between Nanette and Karen Chew. It is funny, quite clever (and catty!) and beautifully made. I’m hoping I can save my pennies fast enough to buy Hello Catty! before the edition is sold out.

While you’re at PreNeo Press, take some time and look at the Projects as well as Kent and Nanette’s individual work. Bring a cup of coffee or tea and stay awhile. You’ll find the art to be thought-provoking and worth spending some time. Don’t miss the Focus Generator.

Next: Robbin Ami Silverberg

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com

CBAA Member Showcase: Laura Russell

Many of us in the artist book world know Laura Russell as the owner of 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon, but did you also know that Laura is an artist? I first met her when she taught a class at the San Francisco Center for the Book where I admired her artists’ books including Colfax Day and Night and Colorado Wall Dogs.

At the CBAA conference Member Showcase I enjoyed some of Laura’s newer work especially Good Will & Salvation. This new artists’ book highlights Laura’s skill as a photographer as well honoring her relationship with her mother. The photos are vivid and interesting and the juxtaposition of the images is thought-provoking. Every day objects become still lifes of memories, cast-offs from childhood and remainders of old technology.

The use of Heidi Kyle’s woven and interlocking accordion structure allows the book to open in a traditional manner as well as be displayed in a long and three-dimensional almost caterpillar-like form. Laura makes good use of the center woven strip as an opportunity for further imagery.

Next: Kent Manske, Nanette Wylde and PreNeo Press

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com

CBAA Member Showcase: Luz Marina Ruiz

Part of the CBAA conference was the member showcase where artists had the opportunity to share their work. Originally I’d signed up for a table but later I realized that if I was showing my artists’ books I wouldn’t be able to enjoy and learn from the wealth of other work being shown. It turned out to be the right decision. I spent two hours (and could have spent all day) talking to artists and looking at their work and learning not only about the techniques, content and strategies used in their art making but also formulating a list of questions I need to explore about my own.

I’ll start by telling you about  Luz Marina Ruiz. I first met Luz Marina Ruiz in 2010 via one of her artists’ books at the Unbound show at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. I fell in love with her tunnel books: rich and vibrant, mysterious and welcoming.

After we go to any art show, performance or concert Greg and I usually share a meal and discuss the work – one of our favorite conversations after an art show or museum exhibit is for each of us to pick our “top 3” pieces and explain why. On that day both of us picked Luz Marina Ruiz’s tunnel book as our top piece.

I next met her, in person, at Codex and had the joy of seeing many more of her exquisite artists’ books. There is something about the angularity, the dense blackness and the vibrant colors that make her tunnel books particularly successful.

At the CBAA conference we had the opportunity to meet again and, this time, to discuss her techniques. In the tunnel books that I come back to over and over again, the black is printed on a press and the color is hand-painted. In some cases a thin layer of beeswax is also applied. She generously talked me through the entire process and gave me tips to use beeswax successfully. At the close of our conversation I was pleased to hear that Luz Marina Ruiz has joined the faculty at Mills College. I hope to have the opportunity to take a class with her soon!

Next: Laura Russell

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com