Art Montana




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Purification, 1996, Cast Soap and Mixed Media
by Byron

Paris Gibson Square
Museum of Art

1400 First Avenue North
Great Falls, Montana

Hours:  Monday through Friday:
10 - 5
Saturday, Sunday:  12 - 5
Tuesday Evenings:  7 - 9

Sponsored by the Montana Art Gallery Directors' Association
Curated by Visual Arts Resources


The exhibit Bookish examines the status of books in this technological age.  The proliferation of new technology has prompted artists to reexamine the book as an object and as a symbol of knowledge.  Bookish explores two distinct artistic approaches to the book:  the continuing interest in the creation of hand-crafted unique books; and the use of the book's image or content as a formal or symbolic element within a sculpture.  The exhibit features hand-crafted books and prints and unique sculpture created from, or in the image of, books by artists Byron Clercx and Toni Matlock Taylor

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The First Thing About Rocks is that They Are Old
Text by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1987

A component of Bookish, an exhibition entitled Like Frost on A Window -- The Beauty of the Written Word celebrates the book as a unique and precious object.  This traveling exhibition, which was curated by Visual Arts Resources, Eugene, Oregon and sponsored in Montana by the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association, features hand-printed letterpress broadsides that beautifully illuminate poetry and prose selections by well-known writers.   Though subject matter and style vary, each piece was chosen for its evocative presentation of the rich beauty found in the natural world.  Most pieces were printed using manually operated letterpresses, a technique that has changed little since the Middle Ages.  Many of the prints result from collaborations between printer and artists.

Bookish also features innovative sculptures by Byron Clercx and Toni Matlock Taylor.  Byron Clercx's waggish, pun-laden sculptures present a lively contrast to the traditional codex book format.  In some of his sculptures, Clercx uses books as raw materials, shredding, laminating, sawing or soaking texts to create artworks in which the presence of the original book is both concealed and revealed.  In other sculptures, Clercx shapes the image of the book out of unusual materials, such as soap, rubber, and salt.  In Clercx's artworks , the book is rendered unreadable and functions as a symbol of the possibility of knowledge, rather than a transmitter of specific information.  Like Byron Clercx,, Toni Matlock Taylor's book-based sculptures defy the notion of the book as a precious object to be handled with care.  Interested in the natural processes of growth and decay, Taylor intentionally weathers the papers used in her sculptures.

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Inside Out, 1995, Drawing on Wood
Each page  5 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 1/2 inches
by Toni Matlock Taylor

The alterations that the viewer makes to the artwork -- the deterioration of the pages due to handling and the changes in the sequence of the pages -- are an important part of Taylor's exploration of the dynamic interaction between objects, human intervention and nature

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