UNSEEN: A JURIED BOOK ART SHOW
August 11–November 20, 2021
CURATOR & PRESS PREVIEW WITH JURORS
Wednesday, August 11, 1–4pm
Friday, August 13, 5–7pm
CURATOR/JUROR LIVE TALK
Saturday, August 14, 2pm (Instagram)
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD ANNOUNCED
Saturday, October 9, 2pm
(August 2021) “With this show, we usher in a new era of a legendary book arts gallery,” says Jordan Eddy, Gallery Director and UNSEEN co-juror. For the international exhibition of book arts, form & concept partners for the first time with 23 Sandy, an online book arts gallery run by owner/director Erin Mickelson. Eddy and Mickelson teamed up with two-time Fulbright recipient Barb Tetenbaum to select 76 works by 65 artists, ranging from traditional codexes and interactive and exquisite corpse-style works to reactive sound art books and sculptures. An online catalog of each exhibited work will launch on 23sandy.com on opening day, Wednesday, August 11. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, August 13, 5-7pm. Two artist awards will be announced over the course of the show: Librarian’s Choice Award (TBA) and an Audience Choice Award (vote for your favorite work on view by email or in-gallery to support the winning artist with a cash prize), to be announced Saturday, October 9 at 2pm.
23 Sandy has roots in Portland, Oregon, where founder Laura Russell maintained it as a brick-and-mortar space from 2007 to 2017. Russell subsequently shifted the business to an online model, and bequeathed it to former employee Mickelson in 2020. Mickelson recalls, “I said I should probably sleep on it, and then five minutes later, I was like, ‘Yes, of course! How could I say no?’” Now the business is making another transition, as Mickelson establishes a 23 Sandy headquarters and showroom in the Agua Fria neighborhood and launches UNSEEN at form & concept.
“This is a 23 Sandy takeover in every sense of the word!” says Eddy. Mickelson continues, “The conversation started at a studio visit, as we discussed the massive but at times unseen forces that can shape our lives and practices, from global warming to Covid-19 to systemic racism. We’ve seen these issues burst into broader view in the past few years.” The call for UNSEEN, which received 250 submissions from across the globe, asked artists to consider the invisible forces that can shape our lives and surface in unexpected ways—physically, psychologically and philosophically. “In many ways, a book itself is the perfect vehicle to explore the seen and unseen. There’s a discovery process of turning the pages. Books are multifaceted sculptures, and you can never see all of them at once,” says Eddy.
Of the 76 works on view, the jurors received a wide range of both conceptual and material investigations into the unseen, including 3D-printed texts, accordion books, wall pieces, books as objects and performance-based pieces. Of the latter, artists provided both low-fi and highly sophisticated approaches to participant-driven works. Fashioning, for instance, “is an artist book about experiencing the embellishment of textiles with sight and the body,” write collaborative artists Denise Bookwalter and Lee Emma Running. As Fashioning unfurls its wax-died pages, possible through the hooking of the viewer’s hands through leather loops, an invisible choreography of touch sensation and visual joy takes place, addressing the power of human contact. The highly tactile experience stands in delightful opposition to the absence of intimacy following restrictions due to Covid-19. Asytole by Mirabelle Jones, however, employs light and sound sensors, and responsive EKG-pattern pages to form a duet between the participant and object. “These artists pushed the boundaries of what a book can be, and more importantly, what a book artist can accomplish,” says Mickelson.
Barb Tetenbaum is an artist interested in the relationship between text and reader, searching for visual and material strategies to reveal this relationship. Her ideas find their home mostly within the form of the artist book, but also in 2d printed work, installations, a variety of time-art modes. A recent project, The Slow Read, simulcast Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia in small daily increments to any reader around the globe. She has received career and project awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Humanities Foundation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council among others. She has exhibited her work, lectured and taught around the US and abroad, including Mexico, Europe and China, is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships to teach in Leipzig, Germany and Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. Currently she is a visiting professor at Reed College. For 25 years, Barb headed up the Book + Print Department at Oregon College of Art and Craft, which sadly closed its doors in May of 2019. BS (Fine Art), Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison. MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jordan Eddy is the director of form & concept and Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, and cofounder of the project space No Land. As an arts journalist and critic, he has contributed to The Magazine, Santa Fe New Mexican, Santa Fe Reporter, Visual Art Source, New Mexico Magazine and other publications. Jordan is originally from Eugene, Oregon, and has lived in Santa Fe since 2012.
Erin Mickelson works under the imprint Broken Cloud Press. Her work includes artist books, printmaking, and new & mixed media. She earned her BFA with a concentration in book arts at Oregon College of Art & Craft, and holds a degree in graphic design as well. Erin includes both traditional techniques as well as digital & experimental processes in her work, which is held in various private and public collections—including the libraries of the Seattle Art Museum, Yale University, Reed College, Baylor University, and the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Erin is also the owner and director of 23 Sandy Gallery, a gallery featuring unique and limited edition artist books.
ABOUT 23 SANDY
23 Sandy was founded by book artist & photographer Laura Russell in 2007 in Portland, Oregon. For 10 years, it was a brick-and-mortar gallery space exhibiting unique & edition artist books and paper art. In 2017, 23 Sandy became an online gallery, and in 2020, artist and long-time gallery assistant Erin Mickelson took over operations from her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
ABOUT FORM & CONCEPT
form & concept challenges the perceived distinctions between art, craft, and design. We dispute the historic use of these terms to divide artists and rank material culture. Our programming acts as a conversation between many converging disciplines, harnessing the power of contemporary creative practice to shatter entrenched narratives. form & concept mounts exhibitions of regional and international art. We engage the community through educational initiatives including workshops, lectures, and artist residencies.
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