18" x 7" x 7"
$3,600-- To Purchase Contact 23 Sandy Gallery
I’ve long been intrigued by elemental optical devices—mirrors, lenses, textured glass. In devising a project for this show, I became obsessed with the camera obscura. Known since antiquity, the camera obscura is one of those rare inventions with an important role in histories of both art and science. Though I was familiar with its basic principle, and had seen illustrations of different versions, I had never actually seen or used one. I was especially entranced when I ran across the photographs of Abelardo Morell, who transforms hotel rooms and other spaces into large camera obscuras, outdoor scenes playing upside-down across every surface. The results are mesmerizing.
I thought at first simply to make a working camera obscura. Then I had the idea to use it as a chamber in which something could happen--a small, staged internal event viewed in the light of the scene outside. Why not take the intimate act of reading a book to a theatrical extreme?
I built the camera obscura to house three books—he, they, and the eye—and tried to make them simple, evocative, and open to the added layer of a projected scene. Text is scissored from The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Susan Collard is an architect and book artist in Portland, Oregon who makes one-of-a-kind collaged and constructed books. She has exhibited work in numerous shows, most recently the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition and Road Trip: An Oregon/Minnesota Artists’ Book Exchange.
All images and text copyright the artist. All rights reserved.