The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents On & Off the Page at the City Gallery, located at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Waterfront Park September 17 through October 30, 2016, featuring the works of more than forty artists from across the Southeastern United States. The exhibition will open with a reception on Friday, September 16 from 5 to 7 pm; a curators’ lecture will be held Saturday, October 1 at 2pm. Both events are free and open to the public.
On & Off the Page , co-curated by artists Kristen Solecki and Kris Westerson, is an exploration of how the book structure and content are similar to stage and actor, engaging reader and viewer in an imaginary or realistic experience. As book structures and prints are unpacked as functional objects and works of art, a diverse group of artists from across the Southeast explore numerous questions in On & Off the Page, including understanding the identity and cultural label of the maker through time. Are they artist, craftsperson, maker, or creative entrepreneur?
Comparing and contrasting historic making to contemporary making, curators Kristen Solecki and Kris Westerson show that as much as technology appears to change, much remains the same in bookbinding and printmaking. But what is the future of the book and hand-pulled print in the age of digital making? Appreciating historic book and print technologies, the featured artists work in similar modalities to innovate and evolve the medium as they respond to contemporary life issues. The exhibition includes an array of contemporary works demonstrating varied artistic responses to a similar theme and technique. With prints apart from book structures and book structures apart from content, deeper connections between structure and content emerge. Design and aesthetic decisions made by the artist become even more meaningful when book structure and content are considered together.
This exhibition features more than forty artists from across the Southeast, including: Kris Westerson, Kristi Ryba, Mary Walker, Bette Mueller-Roemer, Arthur McDonald, Lillian Trettin, Sonja Greentree Rossow, Brien Biedler, Jocelyn Chateauvert, Lauren Faulkenberry, Susan Finch Stevens, Mary Leto, Karen Hardy, Kit Loney, Fritzi Huber, Linda Elksnin, Cynthia Cobert, Lee Wieland, Monique Lallier, Kathy Strother, Ellen Knudsen, Kyle Clark, Karen Hanmer, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Kristen Solecki, Lisa Abernathy, Seth Corts, Kristen Necessary, Diane Speight, Aijung Kim, Lesley Patterson Marx, Nancy Lemon-Carney, Patricia Van de Graaf, Ken Ambler, Janet Guertin, Stephanie Struse, Jessica White, Kreh Mellick, Laura Ladendorf. Historic pieces from the Medical University of South Carolina’s Waring Historical Library will also be included in the exhibition.
About the Co-Curators
Kristen Solecki is an artist and illustrator based in Charleston, South Carolina who graduated from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. She works for both large and small clients creating commissions, illustrations, and product designs (her work has been featured on the popular television show Mad Men). She also creates products for her own line of prints and cards. Solecki exhibits her work around the country and regularly teaches workshops, while also curating exhibitions of her own like On & Off the Page.
Kris Westerson also works out of Charleston creating handmade paper and artists’ books. Growing up in a family of individuals who worked with their hands, Westerson says that to her, making is both nature and nurture. Her mother helped in her first papermaking experience and she has been hooked ever since, exploring the themes of time, memory, chaos, and impermanence in her artwork. The curators hope to express the relationship between ever-changing technology and the classic art of bookmaking . They wish viewers to explore questions related to historical processes alongside contemporary subjects in this unique exhibition.