Title/Tidal: Book Arts and Water


Water is elemental to every form of life on our planet. It also serves as a crucial and enduring motif for artistic production. The Kohler Art Library and Wisconsin Water Library have teamed up to present this inspiring exhibit of artists’ books that spotlights a number of important and complex issues surrounding the topic of water. The multi-faceted works convey the wide range of ways that book artists, at times collaborating with writers, have interpreted water, rendering it elemental to creative life.

By revealing similarities between water scientists, books artists, and creative writers, this exhibit also brings into clear view the intersections of art and science. Each group is motivated by an urgency to protect oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, watery atmosphere and habitats from climate change-induced degradation. They each wish to inspire public attention to emotional and practical aspects of water. The titles on display showcase these various aspects: water as place and site for memory formation; water as witness to the passing of time; water as life-giving and life-taking; water as inspiring feats of technological engineering; water as source of human labor; water as driver of economies; and water as journey.

An accompanying talk, “Flux: Water in Art and Science,” by Sarah FitzSimons (Art Dept.) and Steve Carpenter (Center for Limnology) will explore how water informs and inspires pursuits in the humanities and hard sciences.  The work of Sarah FitzSimons evokes the natural world while being installed in and upon it.  Steve Carpenter is a world-renowned water scholar who researches freshwater, adaptive ecosystem management and social-ecological system resilience.  The talk will begin at 3:30 p.m. and conclude at 4:45 p.m., Friday, October, room L150, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, 800 University Avenue.  It will be followed by a reception and viewing of “Title/Tidal: Book Arts and Water,” 4:45-6:00 p.m. in the Kohler Art Library.  The public is welcome to attend all events.  Sponsored by the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries.

Book artists and writers in the exhibit: Margaret Wise Brown (author), Julie Chen, Emilie Clark, Stephanie Copoulos-Selle, Diane Fine, Colin Finlay, Hermine Ford, Kathleen Fraser (poet), Dan Giancola (poet), Karen Hackenberg, Lyn Hejinian (poet), Susan Johanknecht, Babette Katz, Michael Kuch, Mario Laplante, Clifton Meador, Sarah McDermott, Margaret Preston, Barbara Tetenbaum, Walter Tisdale, and Claire Van Vliet.

Exhibit co-curators: Sigrid Peterson (SLIS graduate student); Anne Moser (Head, Wisconsin’s Water Library), and Lyn Korenic (Director, Kohler Art Library).

Special thanks: Sigrid Peterson for text labels; Dan Joe (Memorial Library) for graphic design assistance; and Yael Gen (Wisconsin Water Library) for exhibit title.

The exhibit runs from July 5 – October 30, 2016