It is a pleasure to launch the Special Collections blog with the announcement of a gallery talk by Rachel Melis at 4 p.m. on September 14, 2012, in the Department of Special Collections, 976 Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 728 State Street.
Melis, a book artist and UW-Madison Art Department alumna, will point out highlights in the exhibit she created and curated:
Expanding the Home Circle:
An exhibit of artists books
paired with illustrated books
from the Cairns Collection
of American Women Writers
September 14 also marks the closing date for the exhibit. Those without UW-Madison ID will need to show a photo ID with current address to obtain a day pass at the entrance to Memorial Library.
Melis has been engraving and letterpress-printing contemporary versions of texts by 19th-century women authors — focusing on those who sought to expand the domestic sphere in response to what they witnessed on the American frontier. This exhibit pairs 19th-century illustrations and caricatures of women and nature with Melis’ surreal combinations of women and birds.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to examine copy 1 of Melis’ artist’s book, Unsexed & unsphered. Volume I: A chapter from A new home & an essay from A book for the home circle by Mrs. Caroline Kirkland, which Melis has generously donated to Special Collections.
The Cairns Collection of American Women Writers, 1650-1940, which now numbers over 10,000 titles by some 2500 writers, is available for use in the Special Collections Reading Room.