Maureen Cummins, 2018. Number 17 of 35 copies signed and numbered by the book artist, Maureen Cummins. Secretary deconstructs the life and death-by-suicide of the artist's mother, Dolores Cummins, a brilliant woman, aspiring artist, and housewife for twenty-five years. It is this story that inspired Cummins's later book Crazy Quilt, as well as all the subsequent work that she created around marginalized populations. This book is the first of several around this common theme that Maureen has become well-known for. Secretary is made even more powerful by the structure and composition. It was letterpress printed on sheets of Asian lined paper resembling a steno pad, with titling redacted by hand in graphite. The type used appears to have been typed on an old typewriter. Each section of the book is preceded by a ghostly photographic image of Cummins's mother from that period of her life, reprinted from originals in the artist's possession. The text pages are bound in the style of a stenographer's notepad. It is housed in a stiff grey paper folder. Maureen Cummins is a noted creator of artists' books. Her work is held in over one hundred permanent public collections internationally and has been included in exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Rotunda Gallery (amongst others). She has received over a dozen grants and awards and has been an artist-in-residence at numerous venues, including the American Antiquarian Society and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In fine condition. Measures 8.75 x 14.5 inches. ARTB/100119.
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Penland School of Crafts, 2017. Hardcover. Number 12 of 16 copies. Signed by the artist. An exploration of women's domestic roles in the late 19th century through the language of Henrik Ibsen's play, "A Doll's House" juxtaposed with pastel renderings of domestic objects. The text oscillates between a husband's dialogue to his wife and her inner dialogue, including: "Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again? ... They all think that I am incapable of anything really serious - that I have gone through nothing in this world of cares.... My little songbird must never do that again. A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with - no false notes! ...." Grey cloth boards with silhouette of a vessel to front board. Text and images are letterpress printed on cotton and Japanese papers. Size: 7 x 5 inches. ARTB/090320. Fine.
Philadelphia: University of the Arts, 2017. Hardcover. Number 6 of 10 copies. Signed by the artist. Folio. "All Disease is an exploration of hysteria in women. Images of inkblots invoke interpretive psychological tests and are paired with images of pelvic bone and language from 18th and early 19th century medical texts. The conclusion presented by the male-dominated voices in the text is that women are bound to irrationality, emotional instability, and insanity on account of the womb" (artist statement). The text that meanders through the book, often cut off against the edge of a page reads: "The womb, the starting point of hysteria. My womb, the starting point. Like some delicate plant deprived of the beneficial rays of the sun, she is a flower, which withers and droops away, even before its blossoming. On account of the uterus, woman is all disease. A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fit. Divided from herself and her fair jud ... On account of the uterus, I am all disease.... some delicate plant deprived of the beneficial rays of the sun, she is a flower, ... My womb, the starting point of hysteria. A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted. The womb, the starting point of hy ... On account of the uterus, woman is all diseas... Divided from herself and her fair jud ... On account of the uterus, I am all disease." The disjointed, repetitive text paired with the inkblots makes the reader feel as if they are descending into madness or recalling a traumatic event. As you read it, you can easily imagine a woman sitting, rocking, and whispering these words over and over in a chant of despair - and then you realize that as the reader, you have become this woman. A subtle, but powerful book about the oppression of women. Bound in quarter black leather boards with hand marbled paper covered boards. Imagery and text are appropriated from 19th century medical texts and Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Letterpress printed on a Vandercook SP20 from polymer plates. Printed on handmade cotton rag paper (including watermarks, formed shapes, and pulp painting). Inkblot imagery printed by hand lithography. Size: 22 (width) x 15 (tall) inches when open. ARTB/060920. Fine.
Philadelphia: Heirloom Press, 2017. Hardcover. Number 4 of 5 copies. Signed by the artist. Folio. "Curio is a collection of quotidian objects that speaks to the idea of woman as domestic curator and as weaker vessel. Images of household vases, cups and bowls are paired with inkblots that evoke the trappings of middle-class existence" (artist's statement). Includes text adapted from the 1868 collection of articles, "Modern Women and What Is Said of Them" and the Kate Chopin novel "The Awakening." Many of the excerpts that the artist has chosen to include objectify women, likening them to jewelry, tables, and other precious possessions. For example: After scolding his wife for sun bathing, Mr. Pontellier looks "at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage." Also "The mind ought to be developed a little, and in such a way as to make the body more piquant and attractive. Like the candle inside a Chinese lantern, it may serve to lighten up and show to advantage the pretty devices outside. But the outside is the important thing, and the inside only incidental" (from "Modern Women ...). Others comment on how wives should be controlled or "managed" and the power dynamics within the home. A powerful book about the subjugation of women. Bound in full white alum-tawed leather with seven raised bands to the spine. Printed using letterpress, screenprint, and lithography on paper handmade by the artist. Size: 22 (wide) x 14.5 (tall) inches when open. ARTB/060920. Fine.
Washington DC: 2017. Hardcover. Number 5 of 10 copies. Initialed and numbered by the book artist. Jennaway Pearson is a printmaker and book artist residing in Washington, DC. She teaches at American University and George Washington University. Her work is held in institutional and private collections across the US including the Museum for Women in the Arts, the Library of Congress, and UCLA. In this provocative work, Jennaway explores the meaning of “champion” by connecting figure skater Tonya Harding with the goddess Juno, protector of women. Despite being a record-breaking skater, Harding was a victim of her family, a demanding sporting organization, a tragic marriage, and an insatiable tabloid culture. Pearson suggests that Harding, like many women, would have benefited from the protection of Juno, whom the Romans saw as presiding over all aspects of a woman’s life. The book begins with three pages of text printed as handwritten script on yellow tablet sheets. It offers a sympathetic telling of Harding's life, drawing from an early documentary and a later media reports. This is followed by striking images representing both her life and the themes of the book. The text and images are each in a gathering with a cover sheet with two white squares and black numbers representing skating competition scores. The book was supported by a grant from the College Book Arts Association. Bound in black cloth with title in blue script on front cover. In a coptic-style stitched binding. The book is entirely screen printed on Arches 88 and Rives BFK papers. Housed in a black cloth slipcase with title on front. In fine condition. Measures 11.5 x 13.25 inches. Fine.
Rutland, VT: Shattuck Gallery, 2010. Number 2 of 4 copies. This powerful work addresses the issues of women's rights and empowerment. The production comprises a number of stiff paper female figures of various ethnicities and garb, eleven small white paper books by and about women, and a blue scarf printed with women's names. They are housed in a cork covered closet/box with a title label to top. States the book artist Shattuck: "Through the process of making and dressing cutout women figures, stories unfold. These figures, represented globally, bring light to the silent crimes they endure. “Rape is the culture of silence”, quotes President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In India, bride burning takes place approximately once every 2 hours. In Asia alone, one million children are working in the sex trade. Violence and abuse towards women takes place everywhere. This installation of women who stand on a named scarf celebrate their dignity while telling stories of hope." printed on Epson Radiant White Watercolor paper, cotton, vellum, Canson Mi Teintes, and cork paper. Box measures 12 x 7 x 7 inches. In fine condition. ARTISTSB/070119. Fine.