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KTR's BookArtBookArtBook and TPL's Art Under Cover


Contributed by Grace Wu

Earlier this week KTR's BookArtBookArtBook featured presentations and panel discussion with OCAD professors George Walker and Peter Sramek, and artist Lise Melhorn-Boe. Post-panel, the
audience was invited to tour Art Under Cover at the TD Gallery of the Toronto Reference Library, an exhibit which runs to March 30, 2008.

This was a glimpse of art that literally cannot be contained. Books are re-imagined and manipulated into surprising and attractive objects. Artists have always approached the world as material, but in the book arts there resides a deep appreciation and a striving to embody the flights of fancy generated from the printed word. The presenters shared slides of their own work and the work of other book artists. The Toronto Public Library had contributed tattered books to OCAD Book Arts students and received them back as the Altered Book Collection.

Art Under Cover features books which were designed or painstakingly modified by hand and in limited edition to accentuate the subject matter, and can generally still be read. In contrast, the Altered Book Collection reveals books as the departure point for the unsentimental needs of art, with the wayward students often obliterating the readable bits in reducing the pages to pulp, or treating the books as metaphorical blank pages to be overcome.

While one of the presenters had discussed the advances of technology, in which Internet content is participatory and ephemeral, defying mass-produced standardization, the book arts, despite the outrageous treatment its practitioners inflict on the humble tomes, are a return to books' tactile essence, with all the imaginative potential contained within.

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