Visual Arts

BookOpolis 2017: Dream a Book

BookOpolis 2017: Dream a Book, an exhibition of book artists presented by Asheville BookWorks, will be held March 17 through May 17 at the BookWorks gallery. An opening reception, with artists in attendance, will be held Friday, March 17, from 5:30–8:30 p.m.

An Open House, also free and open to the public, will be held Saturday, March 18, from 1–5 p.m., featuring a demonstration of a simple binding in which visitors can participate, creating a sample to take home. Artists’ books encompass a range of styles, materials and techniques. These books, though works of sculptural art, are not simply for viewing, but invite handling and page turning.

Gwen Diehn, a book artist for about 25 years, calls them “four-dimensional … having length and breadth (like drawing or painting) as well as depth (like a piece of sculpture), but with a time element incorporated (interactivity, which allows the artwork to unfold in time).”

Her own exhibit for this show, she says, evolved from a series of drawings done over a two-year period in Ireland, Italy and the US. “When our whole way of life seemed to be tumbling down around our ears over the past year or so, I dreamed of a tower burning and I thought immediately of the tower card in Tarot [signifying] the frightening and painful period of destruction and burning that clears the way for awakening and release of old beliefs and bonds.”

Karen Hardy will also exhibit a piece in the show— fittingly since an Asheville BookWorks workshop ten years ago led to her discovery of this art form and a career change. She has since earned an MFA in book art and printmaking.

“In some cases, I start a project without a specific concept or message in mind; instead I experiment with materials until they trigger some association or memory that I feel is worth developing further. Letting materials guide the content of my work means that the finished piece is usually inseparable from the physical materials of the book.”

Hardy predicts that the exhibit will broaden visitors’ ideas of what a book can be. “It’s a great feeling,” she says, “to have come full circle to be teaching and participating in exhibitions at the place where it all began for me.”

Asheville BookWorks is located at 428 Haywood Road. Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday, 1–5 p.m.; and Saturday, 1–4 p.m. To learn more, visit or call 828.255.8444.

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