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Re: [BKARTS] craft standards, poor books



There is also, related to this discussion, the concept of what modernist literary critics once called the fallacy of imitative form. A writer might demonstrate that a character is a bore by having her whine on for eight pages about her cat, for example, tipping the balance in favor of boring the reader rather than creating a character. This was considered a bad thing. Though post-modernisim has changed the writer/reader contract, it might be useful to look at this fallacy in old modernist terms when we think about illustrating the concept of, say, rusticity by creating something with rustic properties, or addressing the subject of craftsmanship through craftsmanship.
"
Also useful, for discussion purposes if not for book making, is the logical fallacy of begging the question. This consists of using the question to answer itself as in," The Bible is the word of God because the Bible says it is the word of God." In our discussion, it might take the form of "This book is fine art because I am a fine-art artist, regardless of the techniques or materials I used this time." Or this is a work of art because I intend it to be and I'm the artist." Nowhere with this rhetorical construct is there room for the viewer's opinion, just the artist's. And it seems to me Charlie wants the viewer to understand his intent without reference to anything outside the book as an object, surely a modernist inclination. It seems to me that removing rusticity and craftsmanship as concrete considerations and representing them metaphorically takes away some of the walls you're running into.


MaryLee Knowlton


On Jan 1, 2008, at 1:49 PM, Charles Jones wrote:


There is a story about Robert Motherwell trying to hire a stone lithographer to print some large wash drawings in tusche. He wanted a dry look with the grain of the stone showing.
He went through several master printers before he found one who would print the images as he wanted. The rejected printers maintained that the images as he wanted were "wrong", not rich blacks, and just could not bring themselves to have their name as master printers attached to the editions.


I find it handy to think that I am making a container for an idea. I then look at others work in the same way. The German Expressionists fairly tore the wood making woodcuts. Leonard Baskin was very careful in cutting his. Both are good, but are serving different ideas. I have friends and have had students that worry so much about tiny errors in craftsmanship (or type spacing) that they became paralyzed to inaction.
Nicholas Yeager is making some beautiful adaptations of medieval binding structures to modern expressions. That is letting the structure show, following ideas of truth to materials, maybe like Louis Kahn architecture. I think one has to think of each work as an individual. Rustic for its own sake is bad as slick for its own sake. I have seen some terrible (bad old judgments again) done with perfect craftsmanship and some terrible "artists books" executed with poor craftsmanship. I lived through the era of macrame hangings with fringes hanging and so when I see books with strings and other things hanging I have flashback.


I think mannerism is the thing to avoid, because then the forms become rote, repetitive, and lose their expressive power.
Good topic,]
Happy new year,


Charlie


LaNana Creek Press


13001 SFA Station
Nacogdoches, TX 75962
http://lananacreekpress.com/


On Jan 1, 2008, at 1:21 PM, victoria kniering wrote:


hi--
i'm a new member...haven't actually posted much yet though.
just some thoughts on the subject of "rustic", "naive", or "innocent" art.
i'm thinking that design/composition is either well done or not.. choices of materials and the way it is put together (craft) needs to be skillfully done to create a "well made book" or to begin any art. this hopefully is the basis or point of departure of an "artists' book". the next step -- whether you use leather, paper, metals, wood or car tires and/or any other idiosyncratic materials is, again, how it's put together + your intent. you can create pages that are manipulated by folding or by sewing other materials together or even welded together these are some of the elements that will define whether it appears chaotic, rustic, elegant or traditional the artist needs to bring their sensibility to that particular book and go with their ideas and what the materials dictate to create a unified book. while the art/craft of book binding has a rich history, the book form has found a new "life" as "artists' books". many ideas adopted by artists and used in their art...is received by purists as bastardizing something sacred while it should be embraced as a new approach to an old idea.
i know i started with a very traditional background in binding books and have adopted those basic, traditional ideas, and brought them to a different level by challenging the boundaries of the form. with the use of materials such as copper,brass, steel and fiberglass with paper i've been able to create very unified "books" as well as making a piece of art. it may help to think of it as a journey -- the idea of "book" takes an artist + their sensibility + his/her level of expertise + their intent.
so to master what it is you call rustic...you need to work with materials you know and understand and be open to the limitations a material has, as well as challenge these limitations or your idea and be open to solve another problem to make the piece work -- you have to give something up to get something.
just another point of view...


best of luck,
victoria kniering
pleiades press

On Jan 1, 2008, at 12:52 PM, Kathleen Garness wrote:

There are many POVs of course on this, but Kate's comment reminds me of my days at the Art Institute where the critiques were unnecessarily blisteringly cruel and unhelpful. I remember young artists in tears after such daily sessions. An abuse of power on the part of the instructor and the fellow students was my considered opinion. Of course there were those who would say 'if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen' but I felt that everyone there paid their tuition and so had an equal right to respect and understanding of their approach. What was also interesting was that the instructors would say "don't copy/imitate what I do but if you didn't you'd flunk the class... : / We quickly learned to articulate our reasons why we took a particular approach and also developed rhinoceros hide... A friend who studied at the neighboring campus of the University of Illinois experienced pretty much the same thing.

Having standards with examples and discussion about them is important. When that doesn't happen, isn't that a disservice to the student?

Kathy G


On Jan 1, 2008, at 5:40 AM, Kate Hanson wrote:


Sort of reminds me of my studio mate's first critique as an MFA candidate.
The professor came in, looked at her drawing and asked, "Did you draw that
badly on purpose?"



Every Day Is a New Beginning


"The friendships we develop determine the quality of our own souls" Joan Chittister, OSB

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