“Some books are to be tasted, others are to be swallowed, some few are to be chewed and digested,” wrote Francis Bacon, the Renaissance author and not the 20th-century painter, although you can imagine the painter agreeing.
The four artists featured in “Not by the Book,” at Greenwich Library’s Flinn Gallery through Dec. 8, take a page from the Renaissance Bacon to offer viewers new ways of exploring books.
The artists use different aspects of the physical structure of books as the basis of their artistic endeavors. Pages, covers, bindings and selected contents contribute to the artists’ creations in the way words supplied the narratives of the original authors.
“Not by the Book” is certainly an unexpected, even ironic show for a library gallery, one that opens its 2021-22 season. But it becomes more fitting when you realize that book art and artists have been trending for a while.
Shiela Hale builds with books, taking her inspiration from nature. Chris Perry regards books as sculptural objects. Andrew Sovjani expands the boundaries of books’ content or physical nature, using photography and engineering to create works that stretch nature’s boundaries. And Erin Walrath transforms recycled books to turn the original print messages into visually expansive new contexts.
“While books are a unifying theme of both the library and the ‘Not by the Book’ exhibition at the Flinn Gallery, the contributing artists stretch our imaginations by asking us to look at books in entirely new ways,” writes Karen Sheer, co-chair of the Flinn Gallery. “Expanding our horizons has always been a function of art, and this exhibit is no exception.”
For more, visit flinngallery.com.