Century of Progress Theatre (top)
Camera Obscura (bottom)
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Century of Progress Theatre: The Century of Progress Theatre is the lovechild of two prosaic, obsolete possessions: a 1959 Encyclopedia Britannica and the innards of a toaster which had broken down after nine or ten years of faithful service. Black-and-white photos and accompanying caption once illustrated entries for Theatre, Thermometry, and Turbine. The two hummingbirds are from Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds. Various pieces of metal, wood, hardware, and linen thread were also added as the piece took shape. I envision this as the first in a series, with the collective title “A Field Guide to Volume 22”.
Camera Obscura: I’ve long been intrigued by elemental optical devices—mirrors, lenses, textured glass. In devising a book arts project for the Sense and Sensibility show at 23 Sandy, I became obsessed with the camera obscura. I thought at first simply to make a working model. 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, as well as boxes and other sculptural objects. 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.
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