Catching the Light :: Bookworks from Southern California

Exhibition :: Catching the Light :: Bookworks from Southern California

Curator :: Carolee Campbell

Exhibition Run Dates :: February 2 - May 13, 2018

Location :: San Francisco Center for the Book


(artwork L - R: Full Lotus / Mary Heebner, Simplemente Maria Press :: The Word Made Flesh / Johanna Drucker, Druckworks)


About the exhibition :: Why Catching the Light? It is the unremitting light of the sun, day after cloudless day, turning eucalyptus leaves into shuddering flame and forcing cactus to bloom. It is piercing sunlight shattering off the chaparral. Shading one’s eyes, it is the impossible glare bouncing off the waters of the Pacific. It is weatherless weather.

And why this particular gathering of books from Southern California? It is because this selection of books and broadsides comes from bookmakers who have plowed the field for years. They are artists who have honed their craft during multiple hours of steady work; using skills that are brought to bear in creating books that, when seen, couldn’t have been made in any other way. They bring to this art the discipline, study, and practice of the craft of the hand; formal process bound together with conceptual rigor. Among them are painters, printmakers, photographers, and poets. Some are teachers. Now add these skills: setting type by hand or creating digital text with the same subtle skill as in hand-set type; knowledge of the quirks of personality in paper, cloth, and leather, glue and thread, metal and wood, photographic chemistry, ink and paints.

The works in this exhibition are the mature expression of their makers who persist in the work, continuing the unbroken lineage of the art of the book on and into the 21st century. It is investigative bookmaking at its best. Artists, working for years, each finding their own path, beyond trends and long beyond influence, are represented here.   

Southern California is emblematic of light and space. Each artist in this exhibition has discovered an independence of thinking because of that space, just as have the many artists of all disciplines who work here.

It has been my privilege to know them and to select their work for this exhibition.

—Carolee Campbell   


(artwork L - R: Invisible Cities / Harry and Sandra Reese, Turkey Press :: At Low Water / Rebecca Chamlee, Pie In The Sky Press)

Exhibiting Artists/Presses :: Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli (Silver Lake) :: Gerald Lange / The Bieler Press (Marina del Rey) :: Jean Gillingwators / Blackbird Press (Upland) :: Bill Kelly and Michele Burgess / Brighton Press (San Diego) :: Johanna Drucker / Druckwerk (Los Angeles) :: Genie Shenk (Solana Beach) :: Carolee Campbell / Ninja Press (Sherman Oaks) :: Rebecca Chamlee / Pie In The Sky Press (Simi Valley) :: Katherine Ng / Pressious Jade Press (Los Angeles) :: Sibyl Rubottom (San Diego) :: Mary Heebner / simplemente maria press (Santa Barbara) :: Harry Reese and Sandra Liddell Reese / Turkey Press/Edition Reese (Isla Vista) :: Kitty Maryatt / Two Hands Press (Marina del Rey)  

Exhibition Catalog :: A fully illustrated catalog of this exhibition may be purchased from San Francisco Center for the Book

Related programming for this exhibition included :: a Book Talk about the work in this exhibit took place on Friday, March 23, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.