Tag Archives: Laura Russell

Codex Finds 2015 at 23 Sandy Gallery

E-Card-CodexFinds

It is an honor to have been invited by Laura Russell to participate in Codex Finds 2015. I have 3 books in the show, Twenty Six Charging Stations, Birth/Control and Public Privacy.

Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or, if it’s late enough, a glass of wine) and spend some time perusing the beautiful full color online catalog. Even better, if you can get there between March 25 – April 25, 2015, stop by the gallery and enjoy the artists books in person.

~Ginger

http://www.gingerburrell.com

Book Power Redux at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland

Book Power Redux copyright 23 Sandy Gallery

We had the pleasure of traveling to Portland last weekend for the opening of Book Power Redux at 23 Sandy Gallery. I’ve known Laura Russell, owner of 23 Sandy, since the beginning of my career as a book artist but had never had the opportunity, until now, to see the gallery. It is a lovely, light and airy space with a lot of good display opportunities and, of course, you get to chat with Laura, which is always educational.

I’ll tell you about the book show in a moment, but first I have to share a dining tip from Laura – The Screen Door restaurant.  Laura was not exaggerating when she said they have “fried chicken so good it will make you cry.” Greg thought it was more than worth the hour wait and I guarantee that this will be a “must go” every time we are in Portland.

Speaking of Portland, we fell in love with it. I have several blog posts worth of art info to share with you but today I’ll start with the show:

Book Power Redux is an interesting and disconcerting combination of beautifully made artists books carrying difficult messages.  It is one of the strongest shows I’ve seen in a while both in terms of content and artistry.  I am honored to have two of my pieces, Sandy Hook and Assume the Position, included.

Laura has put together a full color catalog of the show and I encourage you to purchase and peruse it. At $25 it is far cheaper than a trip to Portland and well worth the artists’ statements and photographs. You can also purchase the individual works directly from the 23 Sandy Gallery website which is pretty darned slick!

Many of the works stood out for us (I went with my husband, Greg, and our dear friend, Steve, a photographer who lives in Seattle).  I encourage you to wander through the website and experience each book. Here is a quick link to be able to access all of the books easily. Here are a few to get you started (Sorry there are no photos here, please click-through to see the imagery):

my not so ordinary life by Christine Wagner is  delicate, elegant and painful to read. This artists’ book describes her experience with domestic violence and left me appreciating her willingness to share such a difficult story, her juxtaposition of delicate and pretty materials with brutal language, and with the sense that I am tremendously fortunate to not be able to relate directly.

Like most of the work created originally for the Al Mutanabbi project, Sunt Lacrimae Rerum by Amaranth Borsuk is powerful and moving. Her use of laser-cut text, that tears away each time the book is opened, is simple and just so.

Ten Little White Folk by Shawna Hanel had only one downside. It is a unique work and was already sold by the time the show opened. Greg and I would like to have this witty and well-done book in our collection.

Why You Can’t Get Married by Nava Atlas uses the format of a wedding album to “demonstrate how the very arguments used to oppose interracial marriage in generations past have been recycled for use against same-sex marriage.” While Greg and I can relate to this personally, as our marriage would have once been illegal, it is also the artist’s choices of imagery, text and format that really spoke to us.

Did you see the show either in person or online? Please feel free to post your recommendations in the comments.

~Ginger

http://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

What Do Your Entry Fees Pay for When You Enter a Juried Show?

Participating in gallery shows can feel like one expense after another for an artist. Not only are we paying entry fees for most shows, but we’re also paying for shipping to (and maybe from), packing materials and, if we’re fortunate enough to sell something in the show, we’re paying a percentage to the gallery. Often we enter shows and get little to no feedback about the process, our artwork, or the response to our work. In fact, in general, the gallery system is quite mysterious.

As book artists, we’re very fortunate to have gallery owners like Laura Russell who are willing to take the time to explain how galleries work. Laura, who runs 23 Sandy Gallery, is always gracious and patient. After our recent email exchange Laura used her own blog to answer my questions about what the submission fees pay for when you enter a juried show.

Some of the expenses seemed obvious, such as postcard printing and mailing, but others less so – such as paying a programmer to create the online forms we artists use to apply to the shows.

I think you’ll find Laura’s answer interesting. You can read the full text of her answer here.

And while you’re at the blog, take a moment to wander around the 23 Sandy Popular Postings (top right column), you’ll see more information that galleries rarely share with artists.

As always, thank you Laura.

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com

What is It Like to Be the One Jurying a Show?

Excitement, validation, elation, these are just a few of the emotions we feel when our artwork is chosen for a juried show.

I really remember the first time my work was selected for a show at Chicago’s Women Made Gallery titled “From Sham to Shame.” King George was one of my first artists’ books and my teacher, Tess Sinclair, recommended that I enter. When I got the “congratulations” email, I couldn’t believe it. Somehow having my work chosen was  validation that my work was “real” art. It had to be, since a gallery liked it, right? I think I called everyone in my family – twice.

I also remember the first “thanks but no thanks” response that I got. Wow, was that a let down. Ironically, it was from the gallery I’m about to tell you about. In hindsight I understand that: 1. it was not my strongest work; 2. sometimes the work you submit doesn’t fit with the juror’s vision; and 3. sometimes there are more entries than the gallery has room for.

In the interest of full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Laura Russell, owner of 23 Sandy Gallery. She taught the first book arts class that I ever took and is largely responsible (together with a great experience at Donna Seager Gallery’s annual The Art of the Book show) for my becoming a book artist. I also love her artists’ books, especially, Colfax Day and Night. And, I appreciate her generosity in both time and enthusiasm in helping artists be successful. Laura has given guest lectures to the Bay Area Book Artists (and I’m sure any book arts organization who has asked) and taken the time to help me with my business plan when I was studying for my BFA.

I recently emailed Laura asking if I could interview her for my blog about the jurying process and, by coincidence, on the same day, Laura published a blog entry of her own on exactly that subject: Behind the Scenes of Jurying an Exhibition.

And, while I’m at it, let me point you to some of my other favorite blog posts by Laura:

How to Get Your Artwork into a Gallery

Photographing Your Artist Books – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Have you entered your work into a show yet? How did it feel to get accepted? How did it feel to get a no thanks letter?

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com