| Exhibition in the Artists' Books Study
Area at the Library
School of Art, Media and Design, UWE Bristol:
14th September - 15th October
My sculptural books and installations fragment and layer content to mirror the experience of personal and cultural memory. The work often has a playful presentation, taking the form of puzzles, games, or decks of cards. It is made to be handled. The intimate scale and the gestures of exploration required to travel through a piece evoke the experience of looking through an album, a diary, or the belongings of a loved one.
The Mementos series explores how memory affects our daily lives and how memories of an individual can evoke memory in the collective. Each book is a collection of mementos, memories and family stories that recapture the feeling of past experiences or relationships.
The Farm series connects the viewer to the rural Midwestern landscape. It can also evoke a more personal connection to the land, along with memories of grandparents, great grandparents and the farming tradition. This work chronicles both the milestones and the daily routine in the 90-year history of an immigrant farming family. Each piece requires a heightened level of engagement – leafing through a book whose pages are interleaved like grains on a stalk of wheat; winding forward and back through a movie-like, time travelling scroll; walking through rows of an installation that becomes a walk around the boundaries of one’s farm to evaluate the progress of their crops.
The History and Technology series links the creative process of the artist with that of the inventor, explorer or engineer through first person accounts and archival photographs and artifacts. As I researched and developed a series of artists’ books on the history of aviation, I felt a kinship with the Wright Brothers, carefully and methodically experimenting, and creating and refining prototypes. The Beautiful Software Project documents interviews with software engineers regarding what they find beautiful or compelling about well-written software and the act of programming.
Karen Hanmer exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to Yale University and Graceland. Recent and upcoming solo exhibition venues include The Center for Book Arts (NYC), Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and the University of the West of England, Bristol.
Recent curated exhibition venues include the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Brooklyn Museum, Wichita Art Museum, San Francisco Center for the Book, and travelling exhibitions sponsored by the Guild of Bookworkers, the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists' Guild, and Les Amis de la Reliure d'Art du Canada.
Hanmer holds a degree in Economics from Northwestern University. She has studied at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts and with several Chicago photographers and bookbinders. She serves on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, a peer-reviewed online book arts journal, and is Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book Workers. She lectures and teaches workshops on book arts and digital printing.
A complete catalogue of her work is available online at her newly redesigned and updated website, www.karenhanmer.com