April 4 - June 1, 2014
Reading Room approaches artwork as "books" where each piece is meant to be read to communicate its contents. In this exhibition, reading should be regarded as a creation that requires readers to lend their imagination and interpretation as much as the author does. The two subjects, artist(author) and viewer(reader), are therefore able to come together and initiate a dialogue. Reading Room attempts to create a space where the artist and viewer find mutual understanding through an exchange of creative ideas.
The work in this exhibition covers a broad range of what is interpreted as a book. In the collaborative project, The Art of the Book, artist Nava Atlas describes artist books as "a work of art that takes the form of a book, even if in that case the definition of 'book' is somewhat nebulous". Work such as Cecile Chekovsky's Milk incorporates a traditional reading experience but is altered by using the posture required to hold a baby while reading the work. This emphasizes the intimate experience delivered by the traditional artist book. On the other hand, Matthew Mahoney's ink drawing series becomes a means for him to engage the storyline of a specific text as he continuously sketches his interpretation of it. Ian Faria's A discussion with Gareth Jones incorporates the literal act of reading while also showing the process of interpretation through found footage. The wide range of media in this exhibition emphasizes the many ways reading functions.
The line between artist and author becomes easily blurred when considering reading as a form of exchange. The artist uses their own knowledge gained from different texts, then condenses it into artwork that communicates themes to the viewer. This forms an intimate interaction that can best be described as reading. We hope this exhibition can inspire new dialogues and interactions between people who encounter this space. A library of books provided by the artists is also available for museum visitors to reference and form their own associations between the artwork and texts.
Curated by Wangui Main and Seojung Min: MFA Printmaking 2014