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John Frederick Walker
Kent, CT

Sudden Emergence of the Southern Hemisphere
Mixed media over altered book
14.25" x 22" x 4.5"


Etonne-moi (study)
Collage over altered book
19" x 14" x .5"


The book-based pieces I have been making for the past fifteen years grew out of empty sketchbooks, journals, notebooks and damaged bindings I was reluctant to part with, despite their contents having been torn or sliced out. I tried treating them as surfaces for drawing and collage, a process that seemed to obliterate their former meanings but then began to evoke the presence of lost ideas--all those missing sketches, narratives, plans, lists, stories and arguments--that still echoed in their truncated remains. They surprised me by coming to life again, like whole creatures conjured from skins and pelts. The process became its own force, and I turned to library discards and other dumped and forgotten volumes as a source of raw material and inspiration. I have always been intrigued by the visual tension created when a simple design is rendered in a sensuous, highly tactile manner. In these works, facing pages, empty covers and splayed, bifurcated paper become armatures for mark-making--which essentially reconstitutes the objects as drawings. Beyond the missing narratives these broken books insist on, such flattened, eviscerated forms might suggest wings, petals, giant moths--but in the end they remain specimens of a very private taxonomy.

©2014 Center for Book Arts, Incorporated 1974

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