Monday, April 13, 2009

Resin Library

Church Library II, c. 2000
Stella Waitzkin
resin and mixed media

A very exciting artist discovery for me. This particular piece is one of her library installations. Each book on the shelf is an individually cast polyester resin sculpture. Alison Weld refers to each book as a "beautifully realized and complete painting" (see other library installations). Each of Waitzkin's books/paintings when brought together create an mulitfaceted yet uniquely complete work of art. The individual books are gorgeous, rich in texture and color and with a raw, tortured quality, some with a wonderful battered appearance (like a book that has been read, torn pages, mottled covers...). Some of the books have molded faces into them, adding to their sculptural quality and giving them an added life.

The idea of creating sculptural books and installing libraries may initially seem whimsical but Waitzkin's work is far from it. The damaged, raw quality and the sculpture figures emerging into and out of the pages and covers can be haunting. Her one bedroom apartment in New York was filled with books, her resin sculptures. The image of such a room is fascinating to me, books created to provide a different form of enlightenment and edification.

Waitzkin's work is part of the Artist-Environment Builders Collection at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. "Artist-environment builders transform their homes, yards, or other aspects of their personal surroundings into multifaceted works of art that, in vernacular ways, embody and express the locale—time, era, place—in which each of them lived and worked." Stella Waitzkin.

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