San Diego Book Arts Fourth National Juried Exhibition 
May 26-July 8, 2012, University of California, San Diego, Geisel Library

Since its first exhibition in 2006, San Diego Book Arts National Juried Exhibition of artists’ books has become one of the premiere venues for this engaging and provocative art form. Rarely content to present “just the facts,” humans have been decorating, adorning, and illustrating the book since its inception. The artist’s book is, in a sense, the ultimate expression of this activity.

The pieces selected for this show, by juror Carolee Campbell, represent the full range of contemporary American book making. There are examples of fine printing using traditional letterpress techniques with lead type, incorporating limited edition prints, exquisitely bound. One-of-kind books, melding creative structures with drawing, painting, and sculpture, stretch the concept of the “book” in imaginative ways.

Old books can be found deconstructed, cut, twisted, folded, fanned, and distorted into new objects of beauty and intrigue. Tea bags, iPhones, egg shells, flags, rocks, and baskets are morphed into works of art that challenge our thinking about the repositories and communication of knowledge on many levels.

In her introduction to the exhibition catalog, Ms. Campbell says, “The best books being made today, as in the past, become greater than the sum of their parts. They sing with metaphor. They captivate. They hold the viewer in their thrall and demand to be returned to again and again in order to rediscover that high energy transfer, that synergistic flow from part to part and back to whole.”

The exhibition juror, Carolee Campbell, inaugurated Ninja Press in 1984. She designs, illustrates, hand sets in type, prints, and binds each edition of books. She is deeply committed to making the beautifully executed book as well as to the continual investigation of form using unusual materials, thereby harnessing both as expressions of book art for the 21st century. To find more information about Carolee and her books, refer to her website:

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