Columbus Metropolitan Library
Books headed for recycling bin turned into art
Used books in utter disrepair, otherwise headed for the recycling bin, have been salvaged by 18 central Ohio artists.
Their work is now on display at "art unbound: an invitational," which features more than 45 pieces at the Carnegie Gallery at the Main Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 96 S. Grant Ave.
Stephanie Rond, curator of the gallery, said officials called on professional artists representing a variety of media to create the assortment of works.
"It was important in the process that we were picking artists who could appeal to everybody," Rond said.
Artists were given access to 60 bins filled with unusable or obsolete books, she said.
"I'd say the driving force behind (the exhibit) was really challenging the artist to think in a new medium and with new material," she said. "And as a gallery, we're always trying to bridge the gap between visual literacy and textual literacy."
Rond said the exhibit was so named because the artists were encouraged to break down the books and use the material in any way they saw fit.
"A book is sacred thing," she said. "They're things we don't want to take apart.
"And artists, they make the same type of work; they make these sacred objects.
"The reason we titled it 'art unbound' is we wanted to give the artists permission to rip these objects apart and do what they needed to do to breathe new life into these books."
Sculptor Brian Reaume crafted One Red Chair and an Imaginarium, using thin ribbons of book pages attached to a discarded chair with a small, stylized house on the seat.
Each piece of paper was cut to the size of litmus paper, then dipped in wax. The housing structure, called the imaginarium, made from the hardcovers of old books, also was treated with wax.
The forms hanging and embedded within the imaginarium and around the structure are armatures from a typewriter. Some are dipped in the same wax that was used on the other components.
The four pedestals on which the chair rests are made of metal-wrapped 4-by-4 planks treated to look aged.
He described it "as taking your time to find your space."
"It was a good challenge," said Reaume, of North Linden. "I wanted to tackle something that I personally hadn't seen before."
The exhibit, free to the public, runs through Nov. 21. A silent auction will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. the final day of the show.
Tickets for the silent auction are $50 and can be purchased at www.friendsofcml.com with proceeds supporting the library's building projects.
The ticket price includes a $15 complimentary one-year friend-level membership to Friends of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in addition to wine, beer and appetizers. Also, proceeds from the sales will be split between artists and the artists and Friends of the Library.