The Art Library as Archive

Vernon Street Library, Leeds College of Art
6th March - 2nd April 2015

Garry Barker
What's my number? Pen, ink and wash, 2014

“Call numbers” are three digit numbers on the spine of each book. These numbers organise books so you know where to find them. This is called the Dewey Decimal System. You can search by author, title, subject, series, or keyword. For example; if you are interested in “artists becoming dinosaurs”, you can enter that into the subject field and all the books about ‘artists becoming dinosaurs’ will be listed.
Kant pointed out that at one time in our history there was an idea of numbering, this of course came before actual number systems, he called this an ‘intuition of the bare two oneness’. The artist when weighed down by theory has a desire to return to a more primitive state.

Paul Glennon
Artist Infinitum, Postcard, 2015  

The Artist will first look to master a medium through study and practice. They will then begin to make and then eventually market what they have made. The master element of this process is always evident as each time the artist makes then markets they are in fact engaging in mastery. That is, the constant state of selection, rejection coupled with the different forms of feedback, is in itself the output (the art or artefact).

Nietzsche has said that the meaning of art is life. When referring to the artist he has said that the art they create is a reflection of their inward life and can sometimes be a symptom of what the artist lacks (or more sympathetically what they are still seeking to understand). He has also said that art is a form of remedy in the ‘service of growing and declining life’. Considering these points there is an important observation to be made about the life infinite cycle of the artist and what they do, or more importantly, their engagement with the process. It is the process that is important - not the art work.

Barbara Greene
'China Hands' - the significance of Title in Archive or Library, Box with print, fragments and accompanying text, 2013  

What is the significance of the title of an artwork in the classification of the work and it’s place in a library system? This piece ‘China Hands’ is a collection of pottery sherds, with negative prints of people in C18th dress.
Who are the people? What can be deduced about them? The china is blue and white. Is it from China? What is the relationship between the blue and white china and the title, or are the people the real objects of this piece? How is the title an integral part of the work?

Aylwin Greenwood-Lambert
Screen Stars (Pragmatic Arrangement ii), Digital Collage, 2015

The image is a collaged collection of artworks that have been digitally removed from film stills taken from various films and television programs. The works are not recognisable as being by known artists so it cannot be known whether they are ‘genuine’ artworks or whether they have been constructed merely to play a role for the camera. The arrangement of the artworks in the collage has been dictated by the need to cover up various gaps in the artworks that exist as a result of them having often been obscured by people and/or other objects whilst on screen.

Martha Jean Lineham
Postcard, photo, slide, photo, postcard, photograph, 2015 

1. Bank Holiday in Blackpool
2. The North Bay, Scarborough
3. The Windmill, Bidsten Hill, Birkenhead
4. Sefton Park, Liverpool
5. Cotton Exchange, Liverpool
6. Rhuddlan Castle
7. Brittania Tubular Bridge 441
8. Pen Rhos College, Colwyn Bay
9. Dyserth Waterfall near Rhyl
10. Scott Series No. 565 Barmouth by Moonlight
11. Waterfall, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle-on-Tyne
12. Betwis-y-Coed Pandy Bridge

Slides from MMU Visual Resources Centre

Katya Robin
12 TYPES, Postcard, 2015  

Here are word-images of 12 categories selected from the Dewey Decimal System. I made typographic images for the library catalogue classes 700 – 799, i.e. the Arts & Recreation section.

Akin to public and education libraries with funding restrictions, I worked within the limitations of the styling options within Adobe InDesign (print industry standard software). Without recourse to external resources, I pushed the generic functions beyond tasteful typographic conventions. The fonts and the styling choices represent each subject and commonplace loaded associations. Constraints can stimulate invention but paucity of experience feeds clich├ęs.

708 Galleries, museums private collections
Rusty red double border frame with light grey interior. Font: Trajan Pro, which conveys authority and antiquity.

712 Landscape architecture
A green circle with dashed purple border representing Stonehenge. Font: Arial Rounded Bold, bland and ubiquitous, corporate & educational. The lumpen styling reminds me of Henry Moore sculptures.

721 Architectural Structures 
Blue lines for blueprint plans. Bevel corners. Drop shadow to suggest imposing buildings. Font: Capitals (uppercase) to imply monumental emphasis.

729 Design & Decoration 
Border of pink squares to suggest feminine embroidery. Font: Verdana, in red uppercase, a sans serif font widely used on screen and in print, notably by IKEA.

730 Plastic Arts: Sculpture
Yellow button in the style of tacky websites from the early web era: see me, touch me, click me. Font: Bauhaus uppercase, shouting in lurid pink.

738 Ceramic Art
Rounded corners, 3 blue border stripes to suggest Cornishware crockery. Font: a casual script style.

742 Perspective (graphical)
Border & triangles to suggest the vanishing lines of Western perspective. Font: italic, leaning forward, blue to suggest the distant blue daze.

750 Painting and Paintings
Bold frame with gradient infill. Fonts: Marker Felt & Brush Script.

755 Religion & Religious Symbolism 
Cross shape formed from inset corners. Blue has many symbolic associations in religions. Font: Luminari, an amalgam of historical calligraphic forms used to suggest illuminated manuscripts, in white and yellow (Papal colours).

773 Pigment Processes of Printing
Bright process print colours, border of dots in reference to the pixels per inch and inkjets spots that make up print and screen images.

776 Computer Art
Green stripe border, reminiscent of continuous paper for early computer printers. Font: Andale Mono, computer terminal font.

791 Public Performance
Bright red and pink with fancy corners to suggest Proscenium Arch theatres. Drop shadow as per theatrical lighting. Font: Rosewood to suggest ornate Victorian playbills.

Bertie Smith
The Paper Museum: The Collection, 4 accordion books, 2014

Through classification the objects of our world are defined, set into categories and grouped in collections. The process of classification often fails o recognise that there can be more than one meaning or an alternative interpretation. 
Through the production of objects in image form, which all make reference to British superstitions, a collection was formed. The collection was then organised and divided into groups, which reflect different superstitious beliefs (good fortune, death omens, protection and predictions). Each group is represented within a book and the repetition of images indicates where there are multiple meanings. The book becomes the museum: the container, which houses the collections. By employing methods of display found in museums the authenticity and ideas of classification and collections are reinforced. The work highlights that information and objects can be viewed from different perspectives with alternative interpretations suggested outside of the boundaries of systematic classification.

Sarah Binless
Mnemonic for Stone, Manipulated digital photograph, 2014

The image is of a stone with a cut made part way through. A mirrored surface is inserted into the cut, bisecting the stone. The mirror creates an illusory counterpart to the visible half of the stone; it both curtails and completes it. The object seen in the photograph does not literally exist but is a moment in time and space, the geometry of light and surface. A fleeting viewpoint made permanent. 

Considering the object as pale in comparison to the vivid illusory counterpart the image, explores the slippery relationship between object and image, and provides a model for a way of thinking about how readily we accept the image as a replacement of the original, and what we choose to accept as real. A fiction is a truth of something that never existed.

Malina Busch 
Curl Up, Folded felt on wall, 2014  

The sensation of a hand as it is pulled through water, the lightness of a cool mist against the cheek, the first intake of breath on a cold January morning. Memory is a process of collecting and recording, but one which continually overlaps and rewrites itself anew. 
Curl Up is part of an ongoing series of folded paintings which uses colour as a means of referencing individual and collective sensory memories. Through an exploration of the material possibilities of colour, these artworks seek to create a physical archive of ephemeral moments. Each painted mark or folded crease suggesting an action which has already occurred, but where its memory has lingered through the traces that it has left behind.

Ruth Rosengarten
Paper trail: 14 years, Photograph,  2015  

Though I have a vast collection of art books, my current 'art library' is a pile of tickets, marking my mediated passage through this world over the past fourteen years. To mark a significant life change, in 2001 I began collecting every ticket (travel, theatre, cinema, art, parking) that gave me access to something. I am now using them in collages, where they get superimposed and painted over, thus erased. This is my ongoing archive of art possibilities.

Louise Finney
From 'An Illustrated Accompaniment to The Arcades Project', Postcard from double page spread of a book, Book created 2013, Postcard 2015 

Walter Benjamin said that ‘history breaks down into images, not stories’. This statement was the inspiration for the book An Illustrated Accompaniment to The Arcades Project. Through a search for the image, a different reason for reading is born, and drawing becomes a new way of acquiring knowledge from text.

Simon Parish
Dutch Portraits 1971, Oil on Canvas, 2012

The title 'Dutch portraits' echoes the era of great portrait painting. Here though, the painted dutch portrait is reduced to painted versions of found/discarded professional studio portrait photographs. They pay homage to the painted past and reference recent deadpan portrait photography.

Paul Jex
Artists Obituaries – Red, Postcard, 2015 

Paul Jex is a Newcastle based artist who is focused on the apparently tangential mechanisms of the presentation and approach of art. His work evaluates the process in which the audience participates with art, whether this be in newspapers, books, online or first hand in public domains such as galleries or other spaces of engagement.

At the centre of Paul’s methodology is the act of collecting, appropriating and referencing of images. With various levels of meaning supported by antidotes his work reveals a sequence of individual and holistic investigations discussing the importance of chance and discovery, individual and group participation and the exploration of the monochrome; the single colour in art.
Artists Obituaries – Red is a series of collected obituaries from The Guardian newspaper; collected, sorted and then archived for a unique personal collection. Exploring the distances and boundaries in the exposure, relationships and access of art.

Shaeron Caton-Rose
Exhibition for Beginners (Untitled), Digital image for Postcard, 2015

This postcard is made as part of an ongoing project in which I invite the general public to become the curators for a show of imaginary artworks. In each instance art professionals who have created the exhibition are asked to identify their favourite famous artworks. These are then offered up to a wide variety of my acquaintances both on line and in person. The participant curators are asked to come up with a one-line descriptor of the chosen artworks. These are then printed as a list in a catalogue underneath the dotted outline of said artwork, which becomes my contribution to the exhibition, sometimes alongside indicators of the artworks created in the gallery space by dotted lines. The piece seeks to highlight the preconceptions and presumptions held both by the art world and their recipient public about what the content of art is or should be.

Dust Studies
"Can you imagine a being more crazed with sadness than a messenger who can deliver nothing?" Photograph, 2013 

"Can you imagine a being more crazed with sadness than a messenger who can deliver nothing?" - Mark Cousins

The glass negatives depicted in this series were found by chance and photographed in sunlight, seeking to re-awaken them in the present. The scenes and figures imprinted on the glass are of unclear origin and their meaning is uncertain; the content seems to have dissolved into an inert materiality. Time has transformed them from images to abandoned objects, but capturing the moment of contact with the sun allows the object to become an image once again.

Karen David
UFO Museum, Roswell, NM, Photograph, 2014 

“At 4:41 a.m., on an otherwise normal Tuesday morning, Tony Yellow was driving back home from his night shift at the Silver Saddle Motel in Santa Fe when, for no reason at all, the radio stopped, his truck’s engine silenced, and the wheels rolled slowly to a halt. 

Suddenly, a bright blue light surrounded him and just as abruptly as the brightness came, it disappeared. Once Tony’s eyes had adjusted, he saw, right in front of his truck hovering four metres above the ground, what he can only describe as an abstract shape against the dawn sky. Tony remembers a feeling of paralysis; his eyes fixed for what seemed like an eternity on the huge silver object as it hovered, seemingly staring back at him. Then the bright blue light returned, Tony squinted and blinked once, and the strange object was gone. 

The truck’s engine spontaneously spluttered into life and the radio continued playing John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” where it had left off. Tony checked the truck’s dusty dashboard clock - positive that at least fifteen minutes had past - just as the clock changed to 4:42 a.m.”

— Excerpt from Tony Yellow: The Unbeliever by Karen David, 2013

Julie Cassels 
Seeing Differently - Adjusted Library, Altered books, 2014 - present

The ‘Seeing Differently - Adjusted Library’ eliminates areas of focus, other than drapery, from Art History. This work is ongoing, the library increasing in size as further adjusted books are added. Aldous Huxley experienced an awakening to the meditative power of drapery during a monitored experimentation with Mescaline in the early 1950’s, showing him into an artist’s mind, 'captivated by the beauty of folds of cloth'. The implication that this opening of his mind gave access to an otherwise unappreciated artist’s view point high lights the individuality of seeing and of focus.

Isabella Martin
Grip, Sculpture, 2012 

Goblet with Lugs, c. 3200-2800 BC, Cyclades
Grip, 2012AD, England
Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich, England

To grip is to take and keep a firm hold of, grasp tightly and maintain a firm contact, to get to grips with, get a grip on, or be in the grip of something. Clutch at, don’t lose one’s grip.
Grip is part of a collection of objects to function as hand holds into the past.

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