With the advent of information-sharing technology, perhaps the book’s greatest enduring strengths is its tactile form. Nothing quite replicates the sensuousness of delicate pages, glossy ink illustrations on paper and coarse bindings. “Anatomy of a Book” brings together three artists who understand this strength and play with the idea about what really constitutes a book’s anatomy.
Chicago-based artist Pat Swanson collects and arranges parts of books, including fabric bindings, stained pages and wood covers. Her compositions vary between static organizations and seemingly natural groupings, as if once-complete books had been reduced to bits and lovingly recollected. Jennifer Koshbin’s altered books are not destroyed to Swanson’s point of no return, but instead subjected to experimental inclusion and mutilation. Concentric circles cut through layers of pages allow the viewer to skip through the body of a novel to focus on a single word. Some pieces pair this maimed text with original sketches by the artist. Koshbin’s musical books, in which music box movements are inserted into books, not only provide commentary on books’ content, but also ask viewers to interact with books in a non-conventional manner. Picking up “Don Pedro and The Devil,” the viewer continuously cranks a small lever to listen to “Amazing Grace.” The play on words continues with Suzanna Scott’s “Doll Houses,” reclaimed wood sculptures in the familiar shape of the Western-style domicile, complete with small chimneys. Her Frankensteinian creations take on a life of their own with the addition of doll arms and legs and antique anatomical prints. (Patrice Connelly)
Through May 1 at 360 See Gallery, 1924 N. Damen Ave