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Woodland Pattern Hosts Flying Fish Press

by Mary Vuk

woodland pattern
Ode to a Grand Staircase (for four hands) by Julie Chen

During May, Julie Chen, a nationally-known book artist and book arts instructortaught several workshops and gave a gallery talk at Woodland Pattern Book Centerwhere her works are currently on display. Chen is the owner of Flying Fish Pressand has been producing artists’ books for the past 18 years. Her books have beencollected by the library of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Victoriaand Albert Museum in London, among others.

“Why do I make books?” Julie Chen asked. “One is that abook is a time-based medium, which means that you can’tjust see it, the way you see a painting or sculpture. Youcan’t just take it all in, in one glance and walk around it.You actually have to go through a process that takes time,turning the pages. The other thing about the book formthat really interests me, is that it’s an intimate form. Youhave to touch it in order to get the full experience of it.”

Chen’s books demand careful attention. They aremeticulously put together, original in conception, and arealso deeply thoughtful texts.

One of Chen’s students once defined a book as a “cherishedcontainer for information.” It is a definition that Chenkeeps in mind as she creates her limited edition artist’sbooks, which are not at all difficult to cherish. Her works will be on display atWoodland Pattern until June 4.

Locust Street Festival, June 11

There will be a letter-sharing event hosted by Renato Umali at 2 pm. in the gallery.From 12-3 pm, there will be a bookmaking table for children and young adults, withSharon Van Ruiswyk. This event is free and open to all young people.

Comic Books

Woodland Pattern will participate in the Comic Books: A Marketplace of SequentialArt event at the Milwaukee Art Museum on June 11, 2006. There will be comic booktrading, appraisal and buying. Woodland Pattern will have a table, along with otherlocal merchants and artists. Among the books Woodland Pattern will showcase andsell are:

Syrup Hits by David Larsen (Kenning Editions, Ann Arbor). A sequence of imagesand their overlapping stories as told by Lil’ Mozart, also known as Danish Fly. A fewof the characters take up a habit of sipping “the Syrup” and Beetle Bailey, for one,gets confused in Sarge’s mind with a poet soldier in the current Iraq war.

The Thorn by David Larsen and Dark Brandon by Brandon Downing. Dark Brandonis a full-length collection of printed and hand written pieces. Incorporating visualelements and beautiful low-rent calligraphy; The Thorn is “easy to read / hard to beat/ and rough on / the corona / this text anticipates / your resistance / and offers it /a meat-eating / flower.” This collection of myths and texts is full of “castoffs” fromvisual culture.

Elsewhere #1 by Gary Sullivan (Gary Sullivan, Brooklyn). Elsewhere Volume 1 is abrilliant collection of words and images seen while the writer was on his honeymoonin Japan in June 2004. “It might be one of the best uses of the comics form asautobiography in a long time.”–Ian Brill, The Comics Journal.

Schablone Berlin, edited by Caroline Koebel & Kyle Schlesinger. This lovely anddense little photographic book documents stencil culture in the streets of Berlin.Reviewing Schablone Berlin for the Woodland Pattern website, Nicholas Lampertwrites, “the true importance of this book, however, is not simply its documentationof Berlin street art culture, but its ability to inspire others to participate and advancestreet art within their own communities.”

Chain #8 / Comics, edited by Jena Osman and Juliana Spahr with Gary Sullivan,Janet Zweig, and Arielle Greenberg. From 1993 to 1995, Chain was a journal ofpoetry and poetics that published a yearly issue of work gathered loosely arounda topic. In the summer of 2001, the eighth issue of Chain featured a collection ofcomics, collaborations with poets, and comics-inspired writing.

Riverwest Currents online edition – June, 2006