Requiem: Artist Book at Hunt Library, CMU

I am pleased to be in a third exhibition in Pittsburgh of artist books, curated by art and drama librarian Mo Dawley, on the theme of the environment and water, in conjunction with Too Shallow for Diving (see my previous post). The exhibit is at the Hunt Library (4th floor) at Carnegie Mellon University. Requiem is an artist book that I produced in 1998 while a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon.

Requiem is a lament for the earth. I photographed the images at a wetland area on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State, near Bremerton. Wetlands have intrigued me for many years. Long thought to be wastelands of little value, often drained and destroyed, they are nature’s nurseries, teeming with life. These places, where land and water meet, act as sponges, filtering toxins and buffering our coasts. I have paired this serene landscape with excerpts from an ancient poem, “The Thunder: Perfect Mind,” discovered in 1945 among the Gnostic Manuscripts at Nag Hammadi, a city in Upper Egypt. The source and intent of the poem is a mystery, though the voice is a female deity who speaks in paradoxes or riddles. I believe this poem could represent the voice of the earth or Gaia, who asks in one verse: Why do you curse me and honor me?

The following are the digital images only. The actual book is printed on vellum in one long strip, 20″ x 180″, accordion fold. These images also don’t show the text, which is written longhand, in pencil across the bottom of the piece.

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In addition to the above work at the Hunt Library, are three smaller books, two produced as a project of the Community Trail Art Initiative and one produced by myself and Steffi Domike–a postcard pack of images from our project River Vernacular. In total, these three exhibitions span 13 years of my work, all on environmental themes, and largely focused on water. The Hunt Library show is a rich compilation of approaches and media in artist book forms on the environment. Well worth a visit!

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About Ann T. Rosenthal

eco/community artist, educator, writer
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