Monthly Archives: November 2013

100% Books: the exhibition


100% Books by Canberra Artists was an exhibition of artists’ books at the Watson Arts Centre in Canberra, ACT, from 11–28 April, 2013. It was opened by arts writer Peter Haynes. It was curated by Caren Florance (Ampersand Duck) and was independently produced by Maryann Mussared and Caren Florance.

The show featured twenty Canberra artists who have made books as part of their broader artistic practice. Each artist has been asked to show an ‘early’ work and a ‘recent’ work. This gap may be only a few years in the case of the emerging artists, but may also be decades, and in some cases the change in visual approach is startling.


Associated events
There were artist’s talks at 1:30pm on each Saturday of the show: 13 and 20 April. Each Saturday afternoon the curator hosted a white-gloves show-through of the books. On 13 April there was a zine workshop led by artist Bernie Slater with the theme of ‘So you’ve decided to vote for Tony Abbott’. The resulting zine was sold at the zine fair and is now available through the artist. On 20 April there was a small zine fair with some books artists joining in with their works.

More information
The short blurb goes:
Canberra has a long and prolific history of artistic book production, encouraged and inspired by our rich array of cultural and creative institutions. There is a vibrant community of artists who use the book form to explore and extend their broader practice, whether it be printmaking, sculpture or any other medium. This exhibition, featuring a range of work from fine press to street press, is both snapshot and survey of a selection of current practitioners. It promises to be a very special glimpse at Canberra’s other book scene.

The longer blurb (the media release) is here to download.

An article by Caren Florance on curating the show has been published in The Blue Notebook, Volume 8, no. 1, October 2013.

Please see the exhibition album for gallery views and works from each artist.

100% Artist Gallery

Click on the images (not the names) to see more.

100% Books exhibition shots

Gallery views of the 100% Books from Canberra Artists exhibition, at the Watson Arts Centre, Canberra.

20 Photos

Antonia Aitken

Antonia Aitken’s book works allow her to push her printmaking practice in experimental ways. She uses them to explore ideas of space, time and movement. While Walking River Tracks follows her preoccupation with the Australian landscape, her most recent book was produced during a New York residency and includes a soundscape CD.

4 Photos

GW Bot

Printmaker G W Bot has developed a personal iconography that flows seamlessly through her work, from prints to sculptures to books. In the earlier book she responds to a poem written about Australia by a Russian revolutionary visiting the country in the early twentieth century. The more recent work is a reflexive piece in collaboration with art curator Anne Kirker: Kirker’s text responds to Bot’s broader work, and then Bot’s images respond to Anne’s text.

2 Photos


Most of byrd’s practice involves the re-dressing of existing spaces. His works on ‘reclaimed grounds’ such as the syke poster book and look book form part of an ongoing research project, a testing ground for mark making, composition, colour theory that feeds back into his street art. These works are expansions from his hunter/gatherer notebooks (pocket and digital). Always at hand, these notebooks collect fragments of the world: ‘cultural pointers and cul de sacs’.

3 Photos

Kirsten Farrell

Kirsten Farrell is interested in the role that colour plays in the construction of meaning. Her Oracle books were made to accompany a series of paintings, where each letter of the alphabet is assigned a commercial paint colour, from paint shop spectrometer scans of hardcover books. The books can be used to decode the subject of the paintings, or aspects of the reader’s personality. The more recent works are meditations on time, colour, and chance. Each colour is simply the next colour Farrell takes from her pencil case. Over time, through this process, colour becomes space and movement.

10 Photos

Dianne Fogwell

Dianne Fogwell worked intimately with artist’s books for many years at the Canberra (now ANU) School of Art, first as a teacher in the Graphic Investigations Workshop and later running the Edition + Artist Book Studio (E+ABS). There are two ‘layers’ of books in her practice: formal works with high production values, such as Voyelles/24 Years, and less formal, more playful and experimental pieces made in response to personal themes (like Banquet) or political issues, like Ex Libris and Vote/Post, which were made for Noreen Grahame’s Lessons in History exhibitions.

8 Photos

UK Frederick

UK Frederick has spent the last few years closely investigating the aesthetics of car culture and all it entails, including road marks, car decoration, driving music, crashes. As a trained archaeologist, she approaches her subject matter methodically, teasing out the small details and presenting them to you in a formats that reinforce the authority of her approach: here, as books.

4 Photos

Shellaine Godbold

Shellaine Godbold is an emerging artist based mostly in Canberra. Her primary practice focuses on drawing as a means of understanding and recording her experiences. The works that she creates explore the very human need to make marks and to connect through touch. Her books want you to hold them to experience her work for yourself.

2 Photos

Ingeborg Hansen

Ingeborg Hansen is in the grip of long and enduring love affair with the Book. Her early work is wonderfully quirky and uses her very lateral and original text. Lately her manifestations have been two-dimensional, but this hasn’t diminished her passion for the book form.

3 Photos

Nicci Haynes

Haynes is a printmaker who works with, around and through books as part of her practice. She is fascinated by the weirdness of language. "Sometimes the things I want to express are more easily captured by body language than by writing."

3 Photos

Jan Hogan

Jan Hogan’s visual outcomes seem to have a profound visual shift over time, but there are as many similarities as differences with these two books. Little Red Riding Hood was made as part of Les Petersen’s 1992 Raft Press Book Project. The letters on the blocks can spell out the title of the story, but the free movement of the drawn and lithographed images on the blocks allow for many variations on a theme. So too, the drawn and lithographed shapes of Rhizome Mapping allow the viewer choices of movement and interpretation as Hogan explores her connection with the land she inhabits.

3 Photos

Hanna Hoyne

Johanna (Hanna) Hoyne is a sculptor whose work incorporates elements of performance such as costume and movement. She uses the intimacy of handmade processes to expose human frailty and notions of self-protection. Her early works here are a selection from a series of thirty books that connected to an installation of life-size paper ‘protection suits, that were intended to protect the psyche from the extreme hazards of living. They were exhibited in installation, floating in space’. Her more recent books are a playful return to the theme, utilizing materials at hand and spring-boarding from ambient conversation.

6 Photos

Murray Kirkland

Murray Kirkland has always worked sensitively with the themes of time and mortality. His early work, Two Pages, is sculptural, and yet demonstrates what is commonly expected of an artist’s book: temporal movement and engagement with the image. His more recent work is more traditional, extending his drawing across time and space within the container of a book.

5 Photos

Maryann Mussared

Maryann Mussared arrived at the book through her textiles practice; not unusual with the common elements of (paper) fibre, thread and surface. She works in series, and these two installation works, part of her READ series, explore the tangible qualities of the book and the impact of the inexorable march of technology on our lives. Are we the beneficiaries of the golden age of technology or victims of the seemingly unstoppable daily advances in technology?

2 Photos

Tanya Myshkin

Tanya Myshkin is inspired by texts from classical literature and has a deep respect for the traditional art d’livre (fine art book). Her books are produced using labour-intensive processes such as wood engraving and letterpress. The earlier work features an excerpt from a French absurdist play by Eugène Ionesco: In the case of the Double Act, a woman whom we had seen at her toilet preparations for a date returns home from the same, all dolled up apropos the event. She then proceeds to undress. The undressing doesn't stop at the earrings but continues through a gentle process of removing the dentures and the hair wig and then the eyeballs so that it would seem as we slowly read on that she is perhaps a bit older than we were first led to believe. The later book is entitled Silentium after the poem of the same name by the nineteenth century Russian poet Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev (1803-1873). It was commissioned by Sasha Grishin in 2009.

4 Photos

Patsy Payne

Patsy Payne, currently Head of the Printmedia and Drawing Workshop at the ANU School of Art, explores the way ‘experience in the world becomes part of who we are on both a psychological level and more literally by affecting our body’. With Murmur, originally shown amongst a suite of large woodcuts, Payne wanted to create a hand-held object reminiscent of a medieval missal. Those Who Travel is a collaborative book initiated by Payne in response to the poems of Sarah Rice, who was ‘using words as an escape from physical illness, as a means to move beyond the restrictions of her body’.

7 Photos

Bernie Slater

Bernie Slater teaches Art and Design at the CIT. His drawing and print-based practice is highly political with a focus on what he calls Creative Mischief. 'Other' is questioning our cultural homogenisation and our nation's growing distrust of difference; 'Freedom' was produced for Noreen Grahame’s group exhibition, ‘Lessons in History 2: Democracy’. By locking the book’s imagery behind QR codes that can only be read with a smartphone, its irony becomes immediately apparent. "There is a dissonance between the format of the hard bound book as the traditional holder of knowledge, and its contents, the QR links to the internet. Although the internet is a powerful tool for information, knowledge, and freedom of speech, we opt to use it for distraction, trivia and titillation."

4 Photos

Franki Sparke

Franki Sparke’s work hovers in the space between zine and artist’s book. She is a firm believer in print as a democratic medium, and explores the development of images and stories using simple print techniques. Her book works can shift in the space between book and sculpture, but the way they include strong narrative images always seems to pull them back to Book.

3 Photos

Nick Stranks

Nick Stranks is a sculptor who works with bronze casting. His cast books are akin to Hansen’s screenprinted book: powerful symbols of the iconic place books (still) hold in our lives. He’s also playing with the authority of the book; gone is all the information, and we are left with the blankness of the form.

3 Photos

Genevieve Swifte

Genevieve Swifte is an artist who utilises the beauty and fragility of traditional book materials – paper, thread, ink – to comment upon those same qualities in nature.

2 Photos

Iona Walsh

Iona Walsh is a graphic artist and graphic designer with a visual art past; her relationship with the artist’s book started as a student in the Graphic Investigations Workshop (as did Hansen, Hoyne and Kirkland) and has continued alongside her design practice to design and produce works for Petr Herel and his Uncollected Works Press. Lately she’s joined Megalo Arts Access to broaden her longstanding drawing practice.

2 Photos