Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hand-bound Books, an Art Display

One of my students took me to the semester-end art exhibition for the various art classes here at Korea University. Two large rooms had pictures hanging on walls and display tables were set out with some of the heavier pieces. Some of my favorite displays were using the medium of gauche and the very unusual medium of water color with salt to make a flecked and mottled appearance. The human form in calligraphy using fine brush strokes and heavy were also impressive. My students' three human forms were included in the display - she had a heavy stroke that delineated the outline of the human form with a lighter stroke suggesting motion and movement. There were animal drawings and paintings and imaginary compositions. All attractive and many exploring various creative mediums.

My favorite section however was the display of hand-bound books that reminded me of artsy diaries. The books were all richly cloth-bound with several pages glued together to make a large accordion picture. In some cases the picture was connected and on-going but in most it was just thematically constructed. The books accordion-ed out and were simply gorgeous! Each student had created his or her own book with whatever artistic medium he or she desired. About twenty books were on one display table but there were four that particularly "spoke to me". The first was a book of whimsical wildflowers done in pen and calligraphy ink. It was one of the books with an on-going picture once the book was accordion-ed out. The strokes were free-style and the great use of white space to contrast with the heavier shadowed touches of India ink really gave a feeling of depth.

Another was a book with the theme of the tropics. Water color and diluted calligraphy inks making a wash of soft black and white interspersed with water color gave a light and tropical feel.

Actually the book that first caught my eye was the book with hangeul characters as a background to each of the pages and colorful birds also in water color and calligraphy inks in the foreground. This was such an amazing collection of birds and with great use of the white space to transform space and position for the birds. They really stand out in an "otherly" world. I felt mystically entranced by this collection!

Another one was of Korean landscapes, bamboos, of forests and mountains shrouded in trees. It was strictly in black-and-white and fiercely projected a tempest of emotion.

This fabulous collection of hand-bound books woke my own muse of inspiration. Everyone used some kind of medium that he or she could control, was familiar with and would show his or her own personality. My muse is chirping in my ear ... am thinking pen and ink will be my medium ... am considering a fierce animal compilation ...

These were absolutely fabulous and so artistically and creatively inspired! Art students, you rock!

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