In Flight : The Guild of Book Workers¹ 2003-05 Triennial Exhibition
- PRESS RELEASE
In Flight : The Guild of Book Workers¹ 2003-05 Triennial Exhibition.
Many events, nationwide, have celebrated the December 17, 2003, centennial
of the Wright Brothers¹ first flight, but none as unusual as the Guild of
Book Workers¹ 2003-05 Triennial exhibition featuring the theme: In Flight.
Fifty-four book works, created by Guild members specifically for this juried
show, will be on view from January 16 through March 5, 2004, at the Book
Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, in Salt
The achievement of the Wright Brothers was a culmination of a long line of
trials and errors, not only by themselves, but also by their predecessors¹
attempts at finding a means to fly. The quest to discover the secret of
flight, both in myth and science, has captivated man¹s imagination from the
ancient Greek legend of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun with
waxed wings, to Leonardo Da Vinci¹s late 15th century diagrams of an archaic
flying machine. The Wright Brothers¹ invention of a powered, ³heavier than
air² biplane at the onset of the 20th century paved the way for unbelievable
feats in aviation in the decades to follow.
In Flight, as an exhibit theme, has offered a broad topic for
interpretation, not limited to aeronautics, for GBW members to create an
exciting exhibition through their craft of book related arts, including
leather binding, box work, fine printing, calligraphy, broadsides, and, most
popular in this exhibition, the creation of artists¹ books. Three jurors
selected the works for this exhibition: Madelyn Garrett, curator of rare
books at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake
City, Utah ; Craig Jensen, proprietor of BookLab II, San Marcos, Texas; and
Daniel Tucker, founder of the Ah Haa School of the Arts and The American
Academy of Bookbinding, both in Telluride, Colorado.
Some of the book works appearing in the In Flight exhibition have been made
with original texts inspired by historic writings and speculations on man in
flight, as tributes and recollections of W.W.II pilots in the Pacific, or
the pilots who flew the Air Mail. Women aviators and other pioneers of
flight are remembered. The myth of Icarus is a reoccurring subject; while
the legendary bird, the Phoenix, and the romance of ballooning are
represented in the exhibition. A century of flight is recognized, from the
Wright Brothers¹ first lift off in 1903, spanning the first lunar landing,
to the tragic end of the Columbia Space Shuttle in 2003; as well as a solemn
memorial to the horrors of 9/11/01, when commercial airliners were used as
weapons of mass destruction.
But, the GBW In Flight exhibition is not limited to aeronautics or aviation
history. The beauty of flight in nature, of birds and insects, can be seen;
the whimsical illustration of flights of fancy and fantasy; or by contrast,
the definition of flight as fleeing from danger, or escape. All of these
texts are presented in diverse mediums, from hand lettering, printing with
hand-set lead and wood type, to the adaptation of modern inkjet and laser
printed text and imagery as a contemporary art medium. They are bound in
tradition leather or cloth covers, or in alternative artist book structures
incorporating handmade papers or other unusual materials. When viewing the
GBW In Flight exhibition, questions may arise: ³Are these really books, or
what defines a book?²
It is appropriate that the Guild of Book Workers has chosen to celebrate the
centennial of the first flight as an exhibit theme, as the organization
approaches its own 100th anniversary in 2006. Founded in New York in 1906,
by a group of forty book workers whose goal was to keep their crafts alive
through exhibitions like this. It is one of the oldest book craft societies
in continuous operation in the country. Today, there are nearly 900 members
nationwide (both professional and amateurs) and ten regional chapters.
A full color catalog has been published to document this exhibition ($25.
plus $3.85 shipping). For information about the Guild of Book Workers, visit
their web page at <http//palimpsest.standford.edu/byorg/gbw>
or contact Priscilla Spitler, GBW Exhibitions, at prispit@....
Publicity Chair & WebBinder
Guild of Book Workers