Following a meeting with Katherine after her winning the first Sheffield Artist’s Book Prize, the artist suggested that offering exhibitions as part of the prizes available would be a great addition to the event. As it was, we were more than happy to make that retrospective, and so to coincide with the second edition of the Prize in 2009, as part of the Off the Shelf Festival, we showed an exhibition of new work by Katherine.
Her work involved experimenting with manipulating the page – in taking the book from its compact, recognisable state, to something more sculptural.
This involved two large scale installations specifically created for the galleries at Bank Street Arts – Wings of Fate and Organic Chemistry – two works which literally came out of the books they were constructed from.
This was the first time Bank Street had had the chance to support the work of an emerging young artist by offering an exhibition within the space – since then we have been able to the artist’s book prize a launch pad to offer further opportunities to other artists and as a unique way of building up contacts and working relationships with artists around the world.
The exhibition itself gave Katherine the opportunity to experiment with ideas within the context of their display and not simply as isolated bookworks. Some of this work proved easier to control than other elements – but all seemed perfectly suited to the spaces at BSA.
‘Page 1’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ are part of a series of dictionary pages under the heading ‘Set in Stone’. The initial idea stems from the fluidity of language and it’s ability to evolve and mutate over time. You can try and pin it down, or set it in stone, but it is as fragile as the porcelain.
‘Page 1’ First page of the Oxford English Dictionary, dipped in porcelain slip and fired to burn away the paper.
‘B’ All the pages containing words beginning with the letter B, dipped in porcelain slip individually, fired as a pile to leave thin hollow layers between the porcelain sheet where the paper has burnt away.
‘C’ All the pages containing words beginning with the letter C, dipped in porcelain slip individually, fired as a pile to leave thin hollow layers between the porcelain sheet where the paper has burnt away.
For an account of a visitor response to Katherine’s exhibition, see Christopher Skinner’s excellent blog here