(Released July 27, 2013)
Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce the winner of The 2013 MCBA Prize,
A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature by Chicago-based book artist Clifton Meador.
For the 2013 competition, a three-member jury reviewed 192 submissions from over 160 artists representing 22 nations around the world, and narrowed the field to five finalists. These five works were judged at MCBA during Book Art Biennial 2013 (BookArtBiennial.org), a two-day academic symposium on contemporary practice in the book arts. The winner was announced at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, July 27.
Meador’s work, A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature (2012), is a set of five leporello books, each presenting a sequence of woodland images from Vinalhaven Island in Maine. The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who — even though he sounds convinced — is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience; for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a text that defeats reading. The book was composed through archival inkjet, offset litho and letterpress printing, housed in a laser-cut birch plywood case, in an edition of 20.
In addition to the title, Meador receives a $2,500 cash prize. The four finalists each receive a $500 cash award.
The MCBA Prize 2013 jury consists of:
– Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists’ Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England;
– Sandra Kroupa, Curator of Book Arts and Rare Books at the University of Washington Libraries;
– Buzz Spector, book, installation and mixed media artist, and Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
– Inge Bruggeman (Portland, OR), the infinite between us
– Aaron Cohick / NewLights Press (Colorado Springs, CO), What You Will
– Barbara Tetenbaum (Portland, OR) and Julie Chen (Berkeley, CA), Glimpse
– Amy Borezo (Orange, MA), Labor/Movement (seven workers)
The jury also awarded three Special Recognitions of Merit:
– Heidi Neilson (Long Island City, NY), Atlas Dream Sequence
– Marlene MacCallum (Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada), Glaze: Reveal and Veiled
– Maureen Cummins (High Falls, NY), Accounting
All eight honored works will remain on display at MCBA through August 4, 2013.
View all of the entries for The MCBA Prize 2013 in MCBA’s online gallery: http://www.mcbaprize.org/2013
The MCBA Prize 2013 Winner
Clifton Meador (Chicago, IL)
A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature (2012)
Archival inkjet, offset litho, letterpress, laser-cut birch plywood case
16″ x 88″ [open]; case 16″ x 5.5″ x 3.25″
Edition of 20.
A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature is a set of five leporello books, each presenting a sequence of woodland images from Vinalhaven Island in Maine. The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who — even though he sounds convinced — is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience; for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a text that defeats reading.
The MCBA Prize 2013 Finalists
Amy Borezo (Orange, MA)
Labor/Movement (seven workers) (2012)
Letterpress (hand-set metal and wood type), photopolymer plate printing, folios sewn onto concertina structure
Labor/Movement (seven workers) depicts movement visually in book form, while calling attention to the complexity of everyday human activity, specifically physical labor. The book tracks the motions of seven workers over a brief period of time with lines that change in length, width and color. These movements were captured using a bird’s-eye-view stock video of construction workers on a building site. These abstract reductions of the movements of workers are inspired by the work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth who developed time and motion studies in the early 20th century to improve worker efficiency and productivity. Their work broke down any job into a series of discreet movements that could be repeated by anyone, obviating the need for specialized and skilled laborers. While these studies improved working conditions for some, they also began an insidious process of dehumanizing labor. The imagery is paired with ‘Lecture on Moving,’ a text by Yvonne Rainer, an avant-garde dancer and filmmaker whose dance work often highlights everyday movements. In the text, Rainer leads a group through an exercise designed to make the participants more aware of their physical presence in the world and call attention to the basic dignity of the human body. The book pages are sewn onto the folds of a concertina, which allows for the book to open like a traditional codex or be performed by the viewer/reader in many different ways.
Inge Bruggeman (Portland, OR)
the infinite between us (2011)
Letterpress, drypoint, silkscreen, monotype, pochoir, cut-outs
the infinite between us was conceived as a residency project for the Atelier Vis-à-Vis in Marseille, France. It is inspired by the voyage around the world by the French sea-explorer Jean-François Galaup de Lapérouse. Although inspired by this fantastic exploratory sea voyage that ended in shipwreck after several years at sea, this book instead explores the aura around exploring the unknown. This project maps the spaces between the known and the unknown, between language and knowledge, and between the visual and the textual. The book is an active space for people and concepts to reside in, and to move around in. It is not a stagnant place, but one that is in constant flux and re-evaluation. As our culture shifts the book shifts with it, or perhaps the book itself leads us in unexpected directions. Not only is the object shifting, the act of reading itself is shifting. Letter, word, image, page, structure — these elements can combine in such a plethora of enigmatic and evocative ways. I am also interested in the activated spaces that surround the book — the connections and circuits that link us as people to this object that has the potential to be a multi-media, multi-sensory and interdisciplinary experience.
NewLights Press / Aaron Cohick (Colorado Springs, CO)
What You Will (2011)
Letterpress from photopolymer plates
What You Will is a collaboration between the NewLights Press and the poet, printer and book scholar Kyle Schlesinger. The design and structure of the book are a direct response to Kyle’s poems — tall, narrow stacks of short lines that rhythmically build into modular “language-objects.” The book takes that principle of modularity, of rhythmic building, and extends it through the repetitive, temporal structure of the codex. The poems themselves are placed inside a black frame, the width of which is determined by the longest line on that page. To the left of each black column, the poem is printed in reverse (visually mirrored) in a transparent gray. Once a poem is printed in gray, it repeats on every page, and the text from each successive page is printed on top of all of the previous layers. Every previously read poem is always present, both in the vision and memory of the reader. The layering continues until the mid-point of the book (determined by the sequence of poems — it is not the literal halfway mark in the physical book), where the book in its entirety is printed in white on the black paper that forms the covers and spine of the double-signature pamphlet stitch. After that point, the layering moves in reverse — one layer of gray text is removed with each turn of the page.
Barbara Tetenbaum (Portland, OR) and Julie Chen (Berkeley, CA)
Letterpress, hand binding
This project examines the idea of personal history and how we form a sense of our own story. Prominent events may stand out as the nameable moments, yet it is the space between these events that life, in fact, is lived. To show this, we used a kind of photo album style book. Chen designed and wrote the text that appears on the envelopes; Tetenbaum illustrated and wrote the texts on the cards inside each envelope.
Jurors’ Special Recognitions of Merit:
Maureen Cummins (High Falls, NY)
Silkscreen and letterpress
Marlene MacCallum (Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada)
Glaze: Reveal and Veiled (2013)
Digital inkjet printing, hand-sewn quarter-bound codex in a dos-à-dos structure with wrapper
Heidi Neilson (Long Island City, NY)
Atlas Dream Sequence (2011)
Inkjet printed, letterpress text, drumleaf case bound by hand.