Feature Articles

May 2013

College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, Offers Exhibition Focused on Books for Spoleto Festival USA

The College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, will present Rebound: Dissections and Excavations in Book Art, a major group exhibition of new works by five mixed media artists from around the world who sculpt, scrape, bend and carve to create astonishing compositions using books as a point of departure, on view at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, from May 23 through July 6, 2013, as a featured presentation of the Spoleto Festival USA. A reception will be held on May 23, from 6-8pm.

The exhibition brings together Doug Beube (New York), Long-Bin Chen (Taiwanese, now living in New York), Brian Dettmer (Atlanta), Guy Laramée (Montreal), and Francesca Pastine (San Francisco). The Halsey Institute has commissioned Rebound artist, Long-Bin Chen, to create a site-specific sculptural work that will be on view in the Sanders Rotunda of the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library concurrent with the exhibition within the Halsey. Chen will create the work during a residency May 1 - 23.

Rebound: Dissections and Excavations in Book Art is sponsored by BiblioLabs. The Friends of the Library at the College of Charleston are sponsors of Long-Bin Chen’s residency and installation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Curated by Karen Ann Myers, Assistant Director of the Halsey Institute, the exhibition brings together the work of five mixed-media artists from around the world who transform various types of literature and/or printed books through sculptural intervention. Despite the individual and exclusive perspective of each artist, there are remarkable connections in the themes and ideas they respectively mourn and celebrate. The fascinating range of examples, as diverse as books themselves, offers eloquent proof that-despite or because of the advance of digital media for sources of information-the book’s legacy as a carrier of ideas and communication is being expanded today.

For generations, our society has been lamenting the loss of natural beauty and the dwindling of Earth’s resources to the rising tide of industrial and technological “progress,” all in the name of greater efficiency and luxury. With this emphasis on technology, the relevance of physical books in our culture is diminishing. Books as a vessel for accessible and easily communicated knowledge are becoming somewhat antiquated. The tangible, permanent information presented in books is quickly being replaced with digital media and the Internet, which exemplify fluidity and constant change. In our ever-evolving digital present, we see a variety of once-cherished technologies losing their importance and luster at an increasingly rapid rate.

Because of the confusion and sense of loss that emerge from this state, the artists in this exhibition have created their own responses. Some, like Laramée and Chen, directly address the parallels between the disappearance of natural spaces and books as an outdated mode of expression; as a result, they carve landscapes from the pages and bindings. Deep crevasses, hidden caves, and awe-inspiring phenomena and landscapes emerge from chiseled pages. Alternately, some artists, like Beube, Pastine, and Dettmer, seek to find a place for books in the future, by digitizing or technologizing them. Here, images are created that are reminiscent of topographical maps, weather maps, readings from seismographs, or cross sections of the “bodies” of the books. These works are treated as surgeries or dissections; scalpels and needles are used to carve away the books’ exteriors.

Brian Dettmer’s precise excavation of books, page by page, focuses on taking something that already exists and introducing alternate histories and memories that reveal and illuminate new relationships. Long-Bin Chen combines the cultures of the East and West in his blend of sculpture and literature. Through this, we are prompted to examine the eternal vexation of communication and the social relationship we enjoy with books. Guy Laramée’s work plays heavily on the idea of erosion, in that knowledge could very well be an erosive process rather than an accretion. In that light, he brings up the human fascination with the content of consciousness. In turn, he examines not what we think about but that we think. Utilizing the glossy publication Artforum, Francesca Pastine reveals the visceral topography of art trends by means of an unsolicited collaboration with the magazine and the cover artist. Doug Beube explores the book as an object, a seemingly antiquated technology that is still purposeful in the digital age. He accepts its limited capacity as a personality flaw, but, moreover, acknowledges its elegance.

The importance of the book is remarkably ingrained in human psychology. It may be a simple carrier of information, yet even today it is treated as an object of great value. Books represent our desire to record, organize, and preserve the details of our existence. Through each artist’s interventions, the book becomes even more sacred. For many of the artists, the historical and narrative value of the chosen material drives the pieces, and, by intimately getting to know the book they are working with, they are able to return it to a new life without destroying it.

In the face of unsettling changes, these artists appeal to a sense of monumentality in their work. The references to nature, religion, science, or cultural complexity allude to the idea that only concepts of the greatest importance stand the test of time. Despite the emphasis on the precariousness of human invention, these works do not display a completely bleak outlook on society’s changes. The variety of color, form, and openness of composition among the works also celebrates the ingenuity of creating something new from something old. Books may seem under siege, but they are more realistically at a moment of transition. The artworks in this exhibition simultaneously celebrate and forewarn the viewers of the fine line between monuments and ruins.

Doug Beube received a MFA in photography from the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, and a BFA in film from York University, Toronto, Ontario. In addition to being a mixed-media artist, he is an independent curator, and the curator of a private collection for Allan Chasanoff, in New York. Entitled The Book Under Pressure, it employs the book for purposes other than its utilitarian form. Beube teaches classes in mixed media, artists’ books, and photography, and is invited to lecture at universities and art programs throughout the year. He teaches in the photography department at Parsons The New School for Design, and is a graduate advisor at the School of Visual Arts, New York.

Beube exhibits both nationally and internationally, and his bookworks and photographs are in numerous private and public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; New York Public Library, Byrd Collection; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; National Library of Canada, Special Collections, Ottawa, Ontario; and the Black Eagle Apothecary Museum-Istvan Kiraly Museum, Budapest, Hungary.

Beube was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Long-Bin Chen received a MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and a BFA from Tung-Hai University, Taiwan. He was the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, in 1996, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, in both 1997 and 1998. He has exhibited widely in the United States, Germany, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. Recent solo exhibitions include Continental Express, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, New York; Burning Book, 798 Gallery, Beijing, China; icon & idea, Plum Blossom Gallery, Hong Kong; and Long-Bin Chen Book Art, Nou Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan.

Chen’s most recent group exhibitions include Buddha Spur, Bochum Museum, Germany, and Do A Book, at White Space, Beijing. He is represented by Now Contemporary Art Gallery, Miami, and the Frederieke Taylor Gallery, NY.

Long-Bin Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan and now lives and works in the Bronx, NY.

Brian Dettmer received a BA from Columbia College, Chicago. He has had solo shows in New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Barcelona. His work has been exhibited at galleries and museums throughout North America and Europe, including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta; Chicago Cultural Center, Illinois; and Museum Rijswijk, Netherlands, among many others.

Dettmer’s work has been featured on the CBS Evening News and National Public Radio, and in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Art News, Modern Painters, and Wired, among others. In 2012, he had a solo show in Maribor, Slovenia, as part of its celebration as the European Capital of Culture. Dettmer’s work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Institute of Art, OH; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC. Elemental, Dettmer’s solo show, which debuted at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, is traveling around the US through 2013.

Brian Dettmer was born in Chicago, IL, and now lives and works in Atlanta, GA.

Guy Laramée received a BFA and a MA, in anthropology, from Concordia University, Montreal, and a MA, in visual arts, from UQAM, Montreal. He has received more than thirty arts grants, and was awarded the Canada Council’s Joseph S. Stauffer Award for musical composition. His work has been presented in the United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Latin America. Parallel to his artistic practice, he has pursued investigations in the field of anthropology.

Ethnographic imagination is an important characteristic of Laramée’s artistic work. Although his work has been presented in museums and galleries, its appearance in the context of a gallery exhibition is relatively new. Laramée’s work can be found in the public collections of Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Acor Library, Amman, Jordan; Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec; Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec; and numerous private collections.

Guy Laramée was born in Erables, Montreal and now lives and works in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Francesca Pastine received a BFA, in 1993, and a MFA, in 1996, from the San Francisco Art Institute. She was the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Grant, in 2009, and a Kala Fellowship, in 2011. Her work has been shown at galleries, art spaces, and collections nationally and internationally. Most recently, she had a solo exhibition at Pentimenti Gallery, in Philadelphia, and at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, in San Francisco.

Upcoming exhibitions include The Book Under Pressure: The Allan Chasanoff Bookwork Collection, curated by Jock Reynolds for the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; 10 Years: Artist’s Book Biennale, curated by Luc Brévart, Arras, France; and Considering the Kylix: Contemporary Interpretations of a Classical Form, curated by Brienne Rosner, Peter’s Valley Art Gallery, Layton, NJ.

Pastine’s work is represented by Eleanor Harwood Gallery, in San Francisco. She has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, City College of San Francisco, and Diablo Valley Community College.

Francesca Pastine was born in New York, NY, and now lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is a non-collecting, non-profit contemporary art museum located on the campus of the College of Charleston, on the corner of Calhoun and St. Philip Streets in downtown Charleston. The Halsey Institute offers a comprehensive contemporary arts program that is committed to providing a direct experience with art works in various media, in an environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and learning. The Halsey Institute serves as an extension of the undergraduate curricula at the College of Charleston and as a cultural resource for the region by producing exhibitions, lectures and panel discussions, film series, publications, and a comprehensive website. In addition, the Halsey Institute seeks to foster meaningful partnerships with local organizations in order to further the reach of contemporary art within the Charleston community. Admission into the galleries and to most programs is free with the public encouraged to attend.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Institute at 843/953-4422 or visit (www.halsey.cofc.edu).

[ | May 2013 | Feature Articles | Download Carolina Arts' Current Issue | Carolina Arts Unleashed | Home | ]



Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 1987-2013 by PSMG, Inc. which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - December 1994 and South Carolina Arts from January 1995 - December 1996. It also published Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 1998 - 2013 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited.