Tom Virgin, “School Book #1″
Artist: Tom Virgin (Coconut Grove, FL)
Title: School Book #1 (2013)
Medium/technique(s): Glass, copper, enamel
Edition size: 1
Number of pages: 2
Dimensions, open: 14″ x 33″ x 4.5″
As my book arts practice has roamed through subjects, bindings, structures, materials, and content over the last several years I have observed one constant. The physical body of each of my books follows the idea contained in it. Moving through paper, wood, and metal as materials for a book seemed a natural enough progression with many opportunities for learning on my part, to mix form and content.
My most recent series of books on the theme of schools comes from the 8 hours each weekday I spend in front of teenagers… students. Much of the content of my work is directed at these young people I advocate for, offering them a view to aspects of the world that they are unfamiliar with. Previous books in this series have addressed my concerns concerning changes in schools and how they effect students, both mine and others. This is a subject often discussed among students, parents, teachers and lawmakers. Many people who are not directly consuming an education are unaware of changes in education that occur in plain sight.
The first book in this series was a didactic description of many of these changes, familiar to students and teachers, but dry to those who are not engaged in the process of learning in a public school. These two books use the metaphor of fish to illustrate a school, fused into glass, ostensibly telling a simple story of bright shining students in a transparent environment. They seek to initiate and develop the conversation about schools among those who have “graduated”: What is visible? What is going on just under the surface?