A book is read, an artist’s book is experienced.
Nineteen Scripps students of diverse disciplinary backgrounds from neuroscience to philosophy became book artists in Professor Kitty Maryatt’s class last fall. An exhibition of their bookworks is on view in the Lang Arts Studio 112 at Scripps College until Monday, February 19, 2007.
The Core III class, “From Materiality to Immateriality: The Coming of the Artist Book,” was one of more than 20 distinct courses that fulfill the final section of the Core curriculum requisite. The three-semester Core Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities, required for all Scripps College students, focuses on the common themes of culture, knowledge, and representation. Core III narrows the focus and culminates in the creation of a personalized student project under the guidance of a faculty member.
Professor Maryatt’s class utilized the resources of Denison and Honnold Libraries and the Scripps Art Collection to examine the historical sources from which book artists derive inspiration. The students quickly realized that book arts defy easy definition or categorization. Bookworks delve beyond text and images as the sole carriers of message. Book artists can use the traditional techniques of book-making—letterpress printing, hand binding, offset lithography—but their goal is to redefine the book as an art object.
As part of the class curriculum, the students acted as curators for the Clark Humanities Museum fall exhibition “Too Much Bliss: Twenty Years of Granary Books.” Through the process the students researched, catalogued, and installed 90 bookworks of Granary Books, an independent publisher of artist books for more than two decades.
Using their readings, research, and tactile experience as a springboard, the students developed an original definition of an artist book and created their own bookwork. They also created a DVD accompaniment to the exhibition which recorded their project presentations in order to provide gallery visitors a richer understanding of their work.
Vivian Lin ’09 said the inspiration for her project featured in the series of photos to the right was her participation as a junior fellow in the Scripps College Humanities Institute fall program “The End of Oil.” With her interest in environmental science, the biology-chemistry major was inspired to create a flip-book that questioned human progress in relation to industrialization and environmental impact. “Since flip-books are, in general, a progression of images,” she said, “I thought it would be the ideal way to convey my message. I transformed the background scenery rather than the central figure to emphasize what it is that the reader, and therefore humanity, focuses on.”
The Scripps College Press was founded in 1941 as an experimental typographic laboratory. Students learn the highest standard of typography and letterpress printing by publishing their own books. Professor Kitty Maryatt ’66 is a book artist and director of the Press.
Visit the Lang Arts Studio gallery to experience these books for yourself. The gallery, located on the southeast corner of 12th and Dartmouth Avenue, is open from 9 to 5, closing for lunch at 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. For more information, please call (909) 607-3866.