Richmond, VA: Monalisa Bagby, 2019. Hardcover. Number 1 of 10 copies. In this inventive and interesting work, book artist Lisa Bagby describes the importance of the color red in nature for animal, insect, and plant species. She writes that living creatures rely on color for protection, concealment, and sexual selection. The color red is one of the most distinctive. She offers many examples, from tree frogs to cardinals to red faced monkeys to various plants and fungi. She provides information on such phenomena as aposematism - the use of color by reptiles, amphibians, and fish to warn predators that they are toxic, dangerous, painful to attack, and difficult to eat. Red is not the only color used to display toxicity, but it is one of the more effective ones.
The artist states: "The natural world as a companion marks my earliest memories and that status has never wavered. With maturity I came to appreciate the physical, psychological and emotional dynamics of the natural world. As a creative person, I can’t help but notice details of texture, scale and, of course, color in the environment. Color is a significant part of the equation that brings the natural world into our focus and may even persuade us to care. Color sharpens our senses and enjoyment of the environment, whether it is a spectacular sunset or the sight of a cherry tree laden with its fruit. It is part of Nature’s strategy for engaging us. My interest in eco-systems lead me to wanting to better understand how color is used in Nature so I began researching the purpose of red in the environment. The result is my handmade book, The Art of Red in Nature. I learned that Red was not dumped from a paint can over the globe and spread indiscriminately. It has been judiciously allocated across nature and each assignment is useful, if not essential, in the Plant and Animal worlds. Everything in nature, including color, is purposeful and this book explores the story of red in Nature. Not only is color, such as red, designed to support life in eco-systems, but red is also available for human beings to discover, in insects or in minerals, to advance our own creative efforts. The art of red in nature is a wonder indeed."
Bagby has creatively illustrated her concertina book with cancelled postage stamps of different species, pen and ink drawings with watercolor applied, linoleum block prints, and cartoons. Additional stamps and descriptions are on the reverse pages. Bound in grey cloth with title label affixed to the front cover. With decorated endpapers and a red and white string closure. In fine condition. Measures 6 x 8 inches.