Weâ€™re all used to narrative thatâ€™s told with words. But what about narrative thatâ€™s told through art? Book art?
We talk with book artist Barry McCallion about book art, including his series The Oarsman, which heâ€™s been creating now for fifty years. Then, we replay excerpts from my 2009 interview with Matthew Rose about A Book About Death, the exhibition he curated of art postcards mailed in from around the world.
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The bookshelves in artist Barry McCallionÂ are filled with what one journalist called â€œastonishingly beautiful andÂ utterly unique books, an artistic treasure trove.â€ Indeed they are. They combine painting, objects, sculpture and, most of all, imagination to build a narrative that is more evocative than literary.
Much of McCallionâ€™s work is centered on his Oarsman series, books that tell a story through painting, collage and objects that compose a kind of journey.
The series was inspired by a vision. McCallion writes: â€œIn 1970, a man in a rowboat, hovering in the air, appeared suddenly in the middle of my living room. For some time I had been searching for a subject – a theme – that would enable me to combine art with narrative. The Oarsman’s appearance solved the problem.â€
When we spoke with Barry McCallion (featured in the first segment of todayâ€™s show) he spoke about his origins as an artist in the Fluxus Movement, including mail art, where artists mailed pieces of their art to each other in a collaborative process.
Back in 2009, WV interviewed Matthew Rose about an exhibition he mounted in a Fluxus art gallery in Soho in Manhattan. The exhibition was of an unbound book of art postcards he curated, A Book About Death, which was created out of the mailed postcards of artists from around the world.
We play an excerpt from that interview for our second segment today.