Take Cover (2013)

Books are more than the stories they tell and the pictures they hold.  Like any work of art, they reveal something about the people who created them.  They document the times and places they come from, becoming a valuable cultural resource.  But they are also alive to the reader with various invitations:  to be held, to imagine a new world, to establish an ongoing and often intimate dialogue with one or more characters... to believe or not believe what is being presented as truthful.

The response to the invitation to interact comes in many forms.  Students often write in their books, underlining specific data or making notes in the margins.  Both adults and children claim ownership by writing their names inside the covers.  Many go farther than that, making scribbles and notations that may or may not have to do with the book’s content... often innocently illustrating daydreams or immediate frustrations. These are what interest me and have captured my attention, these biographical markings.  Some feel urgent while others seem off-handed, casual and incoherent.

“Take Cover” is inspired by the private notations and drawings made by 50 previous, now anonymous book owners.  My responses to their initial efforts emerge from my fascination with the crossroads where language and the visual arts intersect, where the unintended and intention often collide without expectations. 

Although my first impulse was to maintain one theme throughout the entire project, each cover seemed so distinctly unique I felt I had to respond accordingly.  Consequently, I have treated each cover as an individual work of art, using a wide range of materials:  inks, pencils, paints, fabrics and objects. They do, however, like chapters in a novel, need each other.  They are to be displayed, collectively, as one piece.