The San Francisco Center for the Book had on display two exciting exhibitions:
The Uncommon Thread: Jody Alexander and Lisa Kokin &
A Visit to Mad Geppetto’s Workshop: The Work of B. Alexandra Szerlip
The exhibitions were held in the Center’s main and annex galleries at 375 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA. The exhibitions ran from November 15, 2013 to February 1, 2014.
Artists Jody Alexander and Lisa Kokin have enjoyed success in the contemporary art world with their thought-provoking works, altering books and reconfiguring them in ways that merge material and meaning. Common to both is the use of the sewing machine and stitching as a medium for art. Also shared by both is a laborious and unrelenting process. For Alexander, it takes the form of tea staining cotton to replicate the colors of aged and browned bookspines and swaddling or layering them to create a safe haven for these beautiful objects, enshrining them. For Kokin, pulping books to create objects that refer to their meanings gave way to arranging and sewing spines of self help books into webs and patterns, suggesting their ability to dazzle with their promise of a better life.
The works of B. Alexandra Szerlip are carefully crafted poems and engaging visual metaphors constructed around her observations of literature and the ironies of human history. An accomplished writer, editor, and two-time National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Szerlip has been working for some time on a book about maverick theatre and industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes, a chapter of which recently appeared in the prestigious Paris Review.
Donna Seager, curator of these exhibitions, writes “It is my belief that the book as a medium for art offers an aesthetic experience unlike any other and I encourage collectors to expand their collections to include these works, whether it be fine press, hand made editions or sculptural and altered versions.”