Book Arts

Lady Vengeance
Artists’ Books by Sarah Bodman

23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, USA
March 6 – 28, 2009

Vengeance awaits at 23 Sandy Gallery in March
Portland : 23 Sandy Gallery is pleased to present Lady Vengeance – Artist Books by English Artist
Sarah Bodman. This show will run March 6 – 28, 2009.


Bodman’s inspiration is the darker side of nature, human nature and history. Like a beautiful poisonous flower, her limited edition, handmade books open with images that lure the viewer in by making the subject look attractive. Using techniques such as screen-printing, letterpress, watercolor and now predominantly digital photography, Bodman explores aspects of historical events, manipulating them to reinterpret the notions of nature (and human nature) as something beautiful and safe. But, what lies beneath must be, of course, very sinister.

For example, her book, Livia’s Garden, is a tour of the garden of Livia, the wife of Augustus Caesar, who used her knowledge of ‘medicinal’ plants to remove any obstacles that threatened the stability of the Imperial family in Rome. In another edition, Viola, Bodman brought us the fictionalised account of a serial killer baker, who developed such a taste for parties that she began to arrange certain events in order to bake and ice more cakes.


These meticulously crafted books often include the object that inspired the book. For her title, Cuttings, the artist included a rusty gardening tool in each box; others books have included glass sugar crushers or have been made from pulped clothing. The Collector uses a set of botanical slides from c. 1920, which were in Bodman’s words, “obviously some amateur botanist’s personal set, which had been dumped in a rubbish skip. The slides with human skin and hair were perfect for the book.”

Bodman is Research Fellow at the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of West England in Bristol where she runs projects investigating and promoting contemporary book arts. She is the editor of the Artist’s Book Yearbook and The Blue Notebook, a journal for artists’ books; and writes a regular news column on artists’ books for ARLIS UK and Ireland News-sheet and the journal Printmaking Today. Bodman is the author of Creating Artists’ Books published by Watson-Guptill in 2007.

Bodman’s artists’ books are included in many international collections such as Tate Britain, the British Library, the V & A Museum, All Saints Library and Winchester School of Art, UK; Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Yale Centre for British Art, MOMA, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Mills College and Rhode Island School of Design, USA; Museum van het Boek and AKI (ArtEz) The Netherlands; Biblioteca Casanatense, Italy; Southern Cross University, Lismore and Institute of the Arts, Canberra, Australia.

23 Sandy Gallery
623 NE 23rd Avenue
OR 97232

Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturday, Noon – 6:00 p.m. and by appointment

The exhibition will also be shown from Monday 4th May – Monday 1st June, at the Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St. #1021, Tacoma, Washington 98416-1021, USA.