Where artists' books and the book arts meet online...
For some reason it seems to be artists' books season here in Melbourne at the moment.
Recently the National Gallery of Victoria opened a rare exhibition of works by William Blake, usually considered the granddaddy of all artists' books artists. It includes watercolours, illustrated books and prints from their collection including 36 of his watercolours from The Divine Comedy. Any serious examination of the history of artists' books seems to commence with Blake so this exhibition would probably be enough of a reason to come and visit all on its own, especially as these works are considered so delicate that they are only exhibited every 15-20 years.
The State Library of Victoria has Rome: Piranesi's Vision on display - a fantastic exhibition of books and prints by the 18th century master-printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi which mainly shows his Views of Rome series and which has a companion exhibition at the University of Melbourne's Ian Potter Museum of Art called The Piranesi Effect which brings together his prints with a number of contemporary artists whose works have a sometimes tenuus but always interesting link to Piranesi's works.
If you visit the Library also keep an eye out for recent works by artists book creator Angela Cavalieri and book sculptor Nicholas Jones in other parts of the building, both of which have produced some fabulous work through the Library's Creative Fellowship program.
The Age newspaper on the weekend had a fabulous little profile piece on well known bookbinder George Matoulas from the Lexicon House Press who has also curated an exhibition at Gallery Langford 120 which only has a couple of days left, but is well worth having a look at.
To the south of Melbourne is the city of Geelong, whose fabulous regional gallery has an exhibition called Libris: the book in contemporary art which brings together a number of artists who put their own personal interpretations upon the book form.
Tonight I actually spoke at the opening of a great exhibition at the Deakin University Art Gallery out in Burwood called Reconnoitre: Real and imaginary which brings together student works from a recent trip to France with works by leading artists such as Peter Lysiottis, the late Juli Haas, Jenny Zimmer, Tate Adams and a number of others around the theme of travel and journeys.
Coming soon is the always fabulous Clunes Booktown Festival (3-4 May 2014) when the small goldfields town of Clunes is taken over by booksellers and book enthusiasts for a whole weekend. For the first time this year the Booktown event will include a new hub - Biblio - the book artist's expo in an old church with works by Nicholas Jones, Deanna Hitti, Deborah Klein, David Frazer, Angela Cavalieri, Gracia Habi and Lousie Jennison, works by students from the Federation University in Ballarat, the Victorian Bookbinders Guild and from the collections of the State Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne.
So if you are looking for an excuse to get on the road or in the air to visit Melbourne, it is well worth the trip at the moment...
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