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Artists Books - Vision

Lynd Ward

"Storytelling without words"

Lynd Ward (1905-1985) studied art at Columbia University's Teachers College and the Liepzig Academy for Graphic Arts where he worked with European artists, who explored telling stories without words with his use of woodcuts. In Gods' Man (1929), Ward introduced Americans to an enigmatic black and white reality. The book sold well despite its release just prior to the stock market crash.

Lynd Ward.
  Gods' Man.
    New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1929.

Bruce Conner

"Searching for inner patterns."

Sometimes referred to as [I KNOW NOW WHAT I DID NOT KNOW BEFORE], BOOK, or ["Bruce Conner / Michael McClure" repeated to form a square enclosing a 36 pt. bullet], this poem illustrated with mandalas, emerged during the period leading up to the Summer of Love.

Bruce Conner and Michael McClure.
San Francisco: Dave Haselwood, 1966.

Gayle Tanaka


Gayle Tanaka,, an employee of the J. Paul Leonard Library and graduate student in the Art Department at San Francisco State University explored her personal and cultural identity with this book produced with letterpress printed at the Press in Tuscany Alley, San Francisco, 1991. Containing lithographs printed by the artist, Kitsune, according to Tanaka is, "Japanese for fox, and for an animal character who appears in Japanese literature, drama, and folklore, often assuming a human form."

Gayle Tanaka.
    San Francisco: Press in Tuscany Alley, 1991.

Gabriel A. Ella


Gabriel A. Ella, a graduate student in the Department of Art, San Francisco State University, designed, handset, and bound Arthur Rimbaud's poem Voyelle or "Vowels" written in 1870, utilizing sophisticated design elements. The poem was printed on an accordion folded sheet of paper. The hand-embossed vowels described in the poem seem to float through time as they literally float over the sheet of paper. A portrait of Rimbaud (1854-1891) was printed on an etching press and mounted on a hand-formed box that houses a small bouquet of dried flowers.

Bruce Conner and Michael McClure.                              
San Francisco: Dave Haselwood, 1966.                              

Elaine S. Benjamin

"Exploring themes."

Elaine S. Benjamin, proprietor of Blue Chair Press in Blue Lake California,, earned her art degree from Humbolt State University in 1994, and has developed handmade artist books using digital and linoleum block prints. She creates wearable art and mixed media works, including art dolls. In Courage, Benjamin explores this ordinary theme with images of courageous women that she silkscreened onto Arches paper. Utilizing simple straight stitching, she then sewed hand lettered words on unryu paper to convey the message, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." The endpapers are embossed with the word "COURAGE."

"No volume is large enough to contain a complete roster of all courageous women, past and present. Those included here affected great change for many people and did so by non-violent means. Six have one the Nobel Peace Prize. These names and faces belong to women whose courage expanded their lives and ours."

Elaine S. Benjamin.
Elaine S. Benjamin, 1997.
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