Bibliographies

For some time now I have been developing a series of art projects that resemble a row of huge books lined up on a shelf. These groups of books are in fact made up of individual paintings. Each painting is its own hand colored silkscreen print on linen, done with acrylic paint in a numbered edition of three, which has then been stretched like a conventional painting on a wooden frame. When they are presented together in groups I refer to them as 'Bibliographies'. These projects are part of an ongoing exploration in my work of books as symbols, as metaphors, and as cultural objects.

In the present time period we are living in, books have reached a transitional point due to their digitization, whereby the content of the book and the physical book are becoming separate. In effect this means that their identity is now rapidly changing. I find it fascinating that historically certain books have formed civilizations, caused great upheavals, been the source of massive scandals, and started entire wars even though they are in themselves just completely inert objects.

I am especially intrigued by the appearance of books when they are together in large, disorderly groups where all their different colors and styles somehow find a certain harmony. In many of my pieces I have sought to draw attention to this dynamic and experiment with the visual possibilities of stacking and leaning the books on each other like some kind of abstracted building block. In short, as a visual artist who works primarily with collage, I find books to be endlessly inspiring. They are so ordinary, yet they can be so sublime.

-Carl Smith