The histories of books and printmaking are intertwined; print processes have been used for illustrations and diagrams within books beginning in the first century AD and continue today. This exhibition, however, looks at the reverse relationship and shares the work of artists who create prints inspired by the book form and often the words within. Exhibition curator Jennifer D. Anderson writes, “Many contemporary print artists have produced innovative work that focuses on the relationship between image and text as well as our evolving relationship with the codex and printed forms.”The artists in this exhibition deconstruct books, focus on their contents, and create new constructs of meaning. Nancy Jo Haselbacher’s haunting installation shares the notes and ephemera readers place within library books. Jason Urban has described his art as operating “in the hazy area between art and design.” Urban creates installations of gradient colored relief prints, ready to be read like the daily newspaper. Justin Quinn’s prints are based on the number of vowels or words on a single page of Melville’s Moby Dick. Similarly, Joseph Lupo works with the formal aspects of Iron Man comics and painstakingly removes figures and text producing an abstract image that hints at interaction and narrative. Lesley Dill has spent her career making evocative prints inspired by the language of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
Artist Andi Steele uses monofilament to create site-specific installations that divide and transform spaces. Subtly lighted, the glowing monofilament creates planar forms that appear to curve and bend, distorting the visual depth. Invited into some spaces, blocked from others, the viewer is encouraged to slow down and interact with what exists and what does not. Steele writes, “Amalgamation is a blending of color and form: singular lines coming together to create a concentrated density; colors overlapping, producing subtle shifts in hue; open spaces contracting, directing movement.”
Steele earned a BFA in graphic design from the University of South Carolina in 1994. She studied papermaking and blacksmithing at Penland School of Crafts, NC, for six years before earning her MFA in sculpture at the University of Georgia in 2004. She is currently associate professor of sculpture at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She exhibits her site-specific installations and large-scale sculptures nationally.