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: 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.
Ft. Lauderdale: Dorothy Krause, 2010. This is an intriguing unique artist's book from noted book artist Dorothy Krause. This unusual work beautifully demonstrates Krause's approach to creating artists' books. The book is based on Shakespeare's "Seven Stages of Man;" however, this version has been rewritten to reflect the life stages of women. This rewritten version includes infant, schoolgirl, lover, mother, matriarch, Sixth Age (of forgetfulness), and Seventh Age (a return to childishness - without teeth, sight, taste, etc.). Following is an excerpt: "... Then a mother. Full of strange oaths, and aware of her children's needs. Jealous in their honour, sudden, and quick in response. Seeking their good reputation even in the tempting life. And then matriarch in fair round belly. With good capon lin'd with eyes severe. And dress of formal cut. Full of wise saws. And modern instances. And so she plays her part ..." It is made from Katie MacGregor's lime green handmade paper over multiple layers of mat board in which dimensional objects, including brass stencils for numbers 1 through 7, unexposed glass negatives, padlocks and keys are embedded. It is housed in a vintage green silk dome lidded box embroidered with cream and dark green threads. It is lined with ivory silk, with a vintage linen napkin hemmed to the size of book and tied with tea-dyed trim that enables the book to be removed from box. Shakespeare's "Seven Stages of Man", rewritten for Woman, is printed digitally in olive green ink on a sheet of vegetable vellum paper and laid in the box below the book. In fine condition. Measures 9.75 x 5.875 x 2.25 inches, [14 pages]. Krause is a painter, collage artist and printmaker who incorporates digital mixed media into her art. Her work is exhibited regularly in galleries and museums and featured in numerous current periodicals and books. In her artist's statement she says: "My work includes large scale mixed media pieces, artist books and book-like objects that bridge between these two forms. It embeds archetypal symbols and fragments of image and text in multiple layers of texture and meaning. It combines the humblest of materials, plaster, tar, wax and pigment, with the latest in technology to evoke the past and herald the future. My art-making is an integrated mode of inquiry that links concept and media in an ongoing dialogue – a visible means of exploring meaning." 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.