Curated by Leslie Nobler (BFA ‘80), and featuring the work of 11 contemporary artists, “The New Scroll” highlights today’s scrolls and scroll-like artist’s books and prints inspired by the very idea of the scroll form.
The scroll was used as the literary format, an art format, and as a communication “technology,” conveying legal (contractual), political, legislative, religious and all manner of inter/personal and spiritual information. These works speak to the relevance of the scroll for present day artists in all media… book artists, painters, printmakers, digital media artists, fiber artists, even photographers. As we all begin to wonder about the future of the book as we know it, perhaps taking a step back, and examining the impact of the pre-book technology in this small way, can give us some insight.
I found artists using more recent technologies (or “re-purposing” 20th century ones) to re-present purposes of the scroll that existed in the 1st century. Finck, Ugoretz and Nagy use the scroll spiritually, for re-telling stories and directives of their religions. Stokes depicts, while Caroline and I (Nobler) visually narrate aspects of interpersonal networks, personal journaling or spiritual introspection. Pyune, Gonzalez, and Stokes also use this format for self expression, both with conscious intention, and unconscious, serendipitous creativity. And dramatically, Lee examines the act of making private stories public, along with Drinkard and Malarcher — using techniques tying her work to ancient methods and materials — which bring us “full circle.” These artists skillfully blend the old with new mass-produced substrates or updated technological techniques. We see all manner of printing on silk, embossed papers, and (even within) knitted panels. There is scribing into foil and spraying through or collaging lace doilies with plastic films. There is work with wax and heat, and sound on an ipod…all of this to bring the oldest information technology into the 21st century.
Through April 10 at the Hamilton Street Gallery, 6 Hamilton Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey 08805.
The exhibition will also be on display April 27 — May 22, at the Arts Guild New Jersey, 1670 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ 07065. Opening reception: April 27, 1 – 4 PM