Artists' Books: Conveying meaning in a non-traditional format

Shirley Greer

    Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis

    Abstract

    This thesis argues that artists‟ books provide the reader/viewer with knowledge and meaning even when the normal expectations of what a book might offer are not met. An examination of the qualities of artists‟ books that differentiate them from traditional books reveals a broad spectrum of concepts being explored by artists working in this medium. In the creation of their books artists consider both the formal components (structure and materials) as well as the conceptual aspects (ideas, meaning, interpretation and sensory responses). The results of these combined investigations provide the reader/viewer with a new interpretation of text, imagery and materials. Together these components present meanings that transcend a literal reading of text. Combining an examination of historical and contemporary precedents with my practice-based research has resulted in the production of a series of artists‟ books responding to four hand-written letters dating from the 1930s. My books reflect a critical exploration of issues surrounding the notions of time, sequence, scale, haptics and the body. They also challenge assumptions about communication, and add to the already-substantial contribution made by women artists in the field of book arts. These books also offer the reader/viewer an opportunity to construct new meaning from the work, unlike that offered by traditional books. This study presents an analysis of the literature related to the on-going debate concerning a definition for artists‟ books. This is followed by a discussion of historical precedents for artists‟ involvement with books. A review of contemporary practices in this field and an investigation of the myriad complex issues addressed by artists in the realization of their work laid the ground work for my own practice-based research. The results of my investigations into this area of study contribute to the existing knowledge suggesting that artists‟ books convey new meaning in a non-traditional format.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Jordan, Peter, Supervisor
    Publication statusSubmitted - 2009

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