“Beyond Words: Celebrating Books as Art” opened June 10 at Florida CraftArt with 10 artists receiving awards. The show was judged by Robin Perry Dana, curator of ARTicles Gallery. She said, “The exhibition is a wonderful delight of the book arts field with works large and small, serious and playful.”
Ms. Dana awarded Best of Show to Robert Barancik, of St. Petersburg, for “Torn Asunder,” a letter-size, leather-bound book consisting of 34 mixed-media collages on 17 rag paper sheets. She commented, “This is a collection of exquisite pieces of artwork. Each page is a treasure with powerful compositions, filled with collage, stunning drawings, woodblock prints featuring Mr. Barancik’s signature mark making of striking black and white tones.”
Tennessee-based artist Rima Day received First Place for a bound book with embroidered organza pages entitled “Scriptum XIV.” The judge said, “The red thread seems like a reference to blood vessels, growth and change. The translucent organza pages allow one to experience the layers of imagery with delicate needlework and how the thread flows out and down the book.”
Second Place went to St. Petersburg artist Rose Marie Prins for a six-foot wide book called “As each moon passes.” The handmade paper has deckled edges. Bamboo rods create a piano hinge. The artist made nature prints using leaves from plants and trees. She hand-lettered a poem that was written by her late son, Jaro Majer.
A metal office file holder has been transformed into a sculpture piece by Dunedin artist Harry Bower who was awarded Third Place. The black, white and red series of books, called “Buddha’s Phone Book,” were made with small bamboo rods using the piano-hinge method.
Honorable mentions were given to Neverne Covington, Christine Di Staola, Jack King, Polly Perkins, and Shelly Steck Reale. The judge’s comments are recorded on a video that can be viewed at www.FloridaCraftArt.com/videos.
The exhibit was a call to artists that challenged them to submit inventive and intriguing works that represent a broad interpretation of the concept of “book” in new and unexpected ways. The jury selected 77 pieces by 38 artists from Florida, Georgia and Tennessee that highlight the diversity of contemporary book arts through work that demonstrates not just technical proficiency but also innovation and self-expression in the design, as well as the choice and use of materials.
The exhibition curator, Cindy Bartosek, said, “These artists are a remarkable group of men and women of different generations, backgrounds, and experience levels with a wide range of ideas, inspirations and personal stories. For some book making is not their primary art medium. The exhibited work uses distinctive combinations of images, text and formats to address topics ranging from politics to poetry, from whimsy to deeply personal narratives that explore and communicate important themes and visual ideas in a very individual way, limited only by the imagination of the maker.”
She added, “Some of the pieces are bold with clear messages, others are quiet and meditative, others are contemplative, the meaning open to interpretation. It is our hope that those viewing this exhibition will take away a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the book form as an art medium.”
Beyond Words: Celebrating Books as Art, June 10 – July 30, 2022, is made possible by a sponsorship from Elizabeth Reilinger, City of St. Petersburg, and Florida Department of State Division of Arts and Culture. Docent tours are available upon request.
Admission is free to Florida CraftArt which is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg and is open Monday through Saturday from10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,500-square-foot Florida Artist Gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent exhibition gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.
Mark your calendar for events complementing the exhibition.
Saturday, June 25, 2 p.m. Roy Peter Clark talk: “Please judge my book by its cover.” How do collaborations between writers and visual artists create works that readers keep for a lifetime?
Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 p.m.: Author Deb Carson, multimedia presentation based on her book, “Becoming FLO, A Mostly True Story”
Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: “One Sheet Wonders: Folded Books from One Sheet of Paper,” Workshop with curator Cindy Bartosek.
Saturday, July 30, 4 p.m.: Artists’ talk: Harry Bower, Karen Brown, Lauren Dykes, Mary Grieco, Andrea Huffman, Kianga Jinaki, Elizabeth Neily, Polly Perkins, Rebecca Skelton and Jacob Wan; and closing reception.
Showing in the exhibit are artists Kathy Arrowood Oates, Kingsport, Tenn., Robert Barancik, St. Petersburg, Fla., Barbara Beyhl, St. Petersburg, Fla., Kim Borowy, Tequesta, Fla., Harry Bower, Dunedin, Fla., Karen Brown, Tampa, Fla., Bonnie Bruner, Lake Worth, Fla., Lisa Co, Gainesville, Fla., June Colburn, Largo, Fla., Mary Correa, Lakeland, Fla., Neverne Covington, St. Petersburg, Fla., Liliana Crespi, Port St. Lucie, Fla., Rima Day, Thompsons Station, Tenn., Katie Deits, St. Petersburg, Fla., Christine Di Staola, Clearwater, Fla., Lauren Dykes, Tampa, Fla., Helen Ensign, East Point, Ga., Melissa Fair and Emily Hashagen, Tampa, Fla., Judy Flescher, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Eric Folsom, Gulfport, Fla., Kristina Gintautiene, Holiday, Fla., Carla Golembe, Delray Beach, Fla., Mary Grieco, St. Petersburg, Fla., Kally Harvard, St. Petersburg, Fla., Andrea Huffman, Sunrise, Fla., Kianga Jinaki, Riviera Beach, Fla., Jack King, Tampa, Fla., Ryan Lutz, Cape Coral, Fla., Elizabeth Neily, Gulfport, Fla., Polly Perkins, St. Petersburg, Fla., Rose Marie Prins, St. Petersburg, Fla., Robyn Roberts, Stuart, Fla., Stephen Sidelinger, Venice, Fla., Rebecca Skelton, St. Petersburg, Fla., Shelly Steck-Reale, St. Petersburg, Fla., Jacob Wan, Orlando, Fla., and Kathy Wood, Port Charlotte, Fla.