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October Issue 2003

Lanier Library in Tryon, NC, Offers Exhibit for Upstairs Gallery

When do you not use a book to fall asleep? When the book is a work of art!

The Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, NC, is sponsoring the exhibit, Between the Lines: Books as Art, at the Lanier Library, a local library which is one of only 18 private libraries in the United States. The unusual show features approximately 25 books created by artists Anne Beidler, Gwen Diehn, Steve LeWinter, Matthew Liddle and Teresa Prater.

An artist book pushes the boundary of the definition of "book." It might look like a book and probably contain words and images; but the artist's goal is to create a unique work of art. According to Teresa Prater, who is also the exhibit's guest curator, artist books can be made of paper, metal, wood and fabric and incorporate printmaking, photography, paint, drawing materials, digital imagery, collage and found objects.

"For me the most significant aspect of the artist book is the ability of the viewer to handle it," says Prater. "While not every artist book can be touched, many of them are designed to be picked up and read." Prater believes artist books provide more intimate interaction between the art and the audience than other art forms.

Prater is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, where she teaches drawing, design, painting and book arts. Prater's work has been shown in 23 solo exhibits and more than 100 group exhibits in the United States, Mexico and Switzerland. Known primarily for her large figurative drawings in charcoal, Prater says, "I draw mostly from personal experience, mythology and current social issues." Her artist books are an extension of the drawings, offering more complex narratives and layers of meaning.

Anne Beidler began making artist books more than 10 years ago and has since exhibited her books widely; in addition, the books are in several permanent collections, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Special Collections Library at the University of Connecticut. An Associate Professor at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA, Beidler teaches drawing, printmaking, book arts and contemporary issues in art. In 1997, she was honored by the State of Georgia for "significant contributions to the visual arts."

Gwen Diehn is chair of the Art Department at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC, where she established programs in printmaking and artist books. In making books Diehn enjoys combining digital technology with archaic processes such as hand papermaking and letterpress printing. Her impressive exhibition record includes shows in Connecticut, Ohio, Oregon and North Carolina and numerous Juror and Purchase Awards. She has been both author and illustrator of the following books: The Decorated Page, Simple Printmaking, and Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist and Turn, all published by Lark Books.

Steve LeWinter received a BFA degree from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and a MA from the University of South Florida; he has done graduate work at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Currently LeWinter is a Professor of Art at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His work was exhibited recently at the Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC, and the University of West of England, Bristol.

Matthew Liddle is acting head of the Art Department at Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, NC, and has a MFA degree in book arts and printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has exhibited throughout the United States and is in permanent collections at the Baker Library, Dartmouth; Denver Public Library; University of Colorado Library; Flaxman Library, Chicago Art Institute; and Paley Library, Temple University.

The Lanier Library is located at 72 Chestnut Street near downtown Tryon.

For further info check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, or call Upstairs Gallery at 828/859-9535, e-mail at (nholmes@alltel.net) or at (www.upstairsgallery.org).

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