This Featured Artist Project was focused on a body of recent work by the nationally renowned book arts instructor Emily Martin. Martin presented 4 sets of prints and artist books featuring letterpress printed codex and movable books as well as prints: Is That What You’re Wearing, Assorted Nightmares, There Were Clues but There Were No Answers, and Crime and Romance, which while arising from different sources, share the concept of multiple approaches to a single idea. The exhibition will provide a forum for Martin to bring together 4 distinct bodies of work that explores theme and variation.
Theme and Variation: Prints and Books by Emily Martin
Sometimes I start with an idea for a book sometimes the prints come first. And often while pursuing the first idea I see another approach to the same idea. I am intrigued by the possibilities of these related but independent pieces. Differences in formats focus the viewer’s attention in different ways.
I have an ongoing interest in the artist’s book as a container of content but also as a sculptural object. I like the complexity that working with books allows, the materials, the forms, the content all working together. In my prints I am still interested in the use of narrative, in the form of texts or as visual narratives. I am interested in the relationship between the viewer and the book or print.
I draw from my own life, what I read, experience, remember, dream and also make up, is used to develop the content of my work. I want a communication from the book or print to the viewer, a communication sometimes clear, sometimes ambiguous or subject to interpretation. This is another aspect of the relationship of the work to the viewer. I use a variety of materials and methods to make my work, which are presented in editions of 10-100 copies. Working in multiples allows the work to be more widely distributed.
Emily Martin lives in Iowa City, Iowa, USA where she has her studio and also teaches at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. Her work is in public and private collections throughout the United States and internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago; The Marvin and Ruth Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Miami Beach, Florida and others.
Support for Center for Book Arts’ visual arts programming is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.