The Next Page


The Minnesota Center for Book Arts is exhibiting selections from their collection at the Northfield Arts Guild, 304 Division St., from February 14 – March 15.


Curated by MCBA executive director Jeff Rathermel, over 50 works give an encyclopedic view of the exciting world of book arts. MN Book Arts Award winners whose work is in this exhibit include: Fred Hagstrom, Gaylord Schanilec, Jodi Williams, Paulette Myers-Rich, and Jana Pullman, who will be teaching class at the Arts Guild.


IMG_3626Using a broad definition of “book” is necessary when examining, discussing and experiencing contemporary artists’ books. As the first interdisciplinary and interactive art form, book artists continue to challenge formal conventions. This is not to say that all book artists have abandoned traditions. The traditional book arts of printing, binding, papermaking, typography and graphic design continue to thrive. When new methods of book production are combined with this strong craft foundation, the communicative power of artists’ books, in all of their derivations, increases exponentially.


At the most fundamental level, a book is a contained narrative. The container, what holds the content, may be a traditional pair of covers on a codex, a box that archives loose cards, a strung line of fastened sheets, or even a room that confines an installation.  The term “narrative” refers to content expressed over time. Like film, books are time-based containers. In film and book arts, the artist controls pacing, rhythm, recognition, association, and comprehension through a multitude of methods. Images may be repeated and sizes may change, text may be obscured, information may be hidden and slowly revealed.


This exhibition demonstrates a broad definition of “book” through works that both honor and challenge traditions. All are contained narratives. They exist within specific spaces, their content is presented in a time-based format, and all components – from material choices, page shapes, and binding styles, to methods of presentation and interaction – serve to advance content. To encourage discussion and provide further context for the exhibition, a series of definitions developed by a diverse set of individuals is presented throughout the gallery.


MCBA is committed to book art, artists and appreciators.  Its mission is achieved through quality programs that support a broad continuum of creators, learners and admirers. MCBA leads the field by promoting innovation, sustaining traditions, educating new enthusiasts, inspiring creative expression and honoring artistic excellence. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to new methods of art-making and communication, MCBA supports the limitless creative development of book arts.


Jeff Rathermel will be giving a free gallery talk March 7th, 2014 at 7pm.