Tomie Arai is a public artist who designs community-based projects that explore the relationship between art and history. Collaborating with historians, writers, curators, architects, activists and community residents, she creates works of art that present multiple perspectives and points of view. Through the use of family stories, shared memories and archival photographs, Tomie constructs pages of “living” history that reflect the layered and complex narratives that give meaning to the spaces we live in.
The pieces in this Featured Artist exhibition include large scale silkscreened monoprints and artist books made of wood and found objects. Through these constructions, Arai explores the ways printed images can transform the functionality of the materials we find in our environment. Over the years, workspace programs like Center for Book Arts have played an important role in Arai’s work. Printing at the Women’s Studio Workshop, the Printmaking Workshop and the Lower East Side Printshop where she was a keyholder for over 15 years, Arai was encouraged to build an art practice based on collaboration and exchange. Founded in the 60’s and 70’s, these unconventional artist-run workspaces were creative laboratories for artists experimenting with the printed image.
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 the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.