“Book Marks” is a visual journey through a lifetime of reading and remembering, an alluring blend of art book and autobiography that will capture the imagination.
At its heart are 434 intricate collages and drawings created on three by five-inch repurposed library checkout cards, each one representing a book that left an indelible mark on artist Barbara Page, who will appear at a Zoom event with the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg April 28 at 7 p.m.
Barbara Page is an artist, triathlete, and avid reader. Her work includes large museum installations, including the expansive Rock of Ages, Sands of Time at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York, and the 140-foot-long pedestrian bridge and mural at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.
Page began making these richly illustrated book marks as a colorful way to remember titles she was currently reading. Before long, Page embarked on a decade-long art project recreating her reading history, starting with picture books from early childhood.
More than half of the approximately 800 artworks now housed in a two-drawer library case are illustrated here, interwoven with personal accounts of the artist’s life.
Each card represents a literary work that drives the narrative, directly and indirectly, serving as a bookmark for a moment in time connected to the specific title. Viewed as a collection, they present over seventy years of literature, politics, thought, and culture—as shaped by one woman’s reading choices.
Like many, the artist discovers strength in the words of authors, and, through reading, she gains knowledge and new perspectives that influence her art, as well as her personal growth. As Page’s life is disrupted by tragedies—one husband’s mental illness and another’s decline into dementia—she forges forward, finding new focus and reinventing her life.
These compelling artworks may bring to mind your own memories of a story, or even prompt you to read or reread a book in order to interpret the artistic references—little puzzles that resonate and inspire.
Page received her MFA from Cornell University and is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and was artist-in-residence at the Golden Foundation. Her love affair with printed matter led to the Book Marks project, exhibited at The Center for Book Arts in New York City and also at various libraries as part of a traveling group show, Artists in the Archives: A Collection of Card Catalogs. She lives in Trumansburg.
To register to attend the author’s event in conjunction with the Trumansburg library, follow the link at trumansburglibrary.org/UPL.