Holiday Reading: Look, Browse, Read, Think…Rest

For leisurely holiday reading next week I would suggest picking up a copy of Sigrid Calon’s new book “Within the Grid and Beyond the Pattern: 120 Compositions in Form & Colour,” stencil printed on RISO. While not a photobook, the process used to make and print this books is a “photo” copy technology. The copy in hand is edition number 189 of 420. On the dust jacket turn-in around the back board the author includes the following description:
“This work arose out of my fascination for a grid. An embroidery grid, to be precise, with a minimal basic grating of 3 x 3 dots. With these dots, 8 different (embroidery) stitches can be made: one horizontal, one vertical, one 45 degrees to the right, one 45 degrees to the left, one 26.5 degrees to the right, one 26.5 degrees to the left, one 63.5 degrees to the right, and one 63.5 degrees to the left.” Following a discussion about lines as they are translated by a computer, there is a discussion of the unique qualities of the Risograph copier (the effect of screen printing with the ease of photocopying). She continues, “I have chosen to work with 8 colours: fluorescent pink, blue, orange, brown, yellow, green, black and red. … The colour combinations have been teh starting point for the book. 8 colours generate 28 two-colour combinations and 56 three-clolur combinations. Four-colour combinations make 72 options appear. Out of these I have made a selection of 28 so as to have a good basic combination of 4 compositions per A3. Each colour combination in this book appears only once.” There is a brief note about gradations and layers.

Sigrid Calon

Sigrid Calon, page detail

Sigrid’s book is a great introduction to color and color processes is a perfect segue to my second title for holiday reading or browsing: “Color: American Photography Transformed,” by John Rohrbach with an essay by Sylvie Penichon. Published by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the University of Texas, Austin, and The William & Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere.

American Color

The table of contents include: Forward by Andrew J. Walker, Introduction, One: inventing color photography, Two: defining color (1936-1970), Three: Using color (1970-1990), Four: interrogating color (1990-2010), from potatoes to pixels: a short technical history of color photography, list of plates, bibliography, acknowledgments, Index. Color reproductions throughout are all very high quality, and the book itself is over sized, allowing for enjoyment of large images. An excellent book.

For those of you who are less interested in an artist book, or in a large coffee table book, you might aim for something a little more cerebral: “Minor Photography: Connecting Deleuze and Guattari to Photography Theory,” edited by Mieke Bleyen, published by Leuven University Press, 2012. The book is broken up into three parts.


Part 1: Towards a Theory of the Minor
“From Stuttering and Stammering to the Diagram: Towards a Minor Art Practice?”
Simon O’Sullivan
“Tichy as a Maverick: Singular figure of a Minor Photraphy?”
Gilles Rouffineau
“Always in the Middle: the Photographic work of Marcel Marien. A Minor Approach”
Mieke Bleyen

Part 2: Major Artists – Minor Practice?
“Fear of Reflections: the photoworks of Paul McCarthy”
Neil Matheson
“Considering the Minor in the Literary and Photographic works of Rodney Graham and Tacita Dean”
Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes
“Entertaining Conceptual Art: Dan Graham on Dean Martin”
Eric C.H. de Bruyn

Part 3: Surrealism in Variation
“Towards a Minor Surrealism: Paul Nouge and the Subversion of Images”
Frederic Thomas
“Conceptual Art and Surrealism: an Exceptional, Belgian Liaison”
Liesbeth Decan
“Systematic confusion and the total discredit of the world of reality: Surrealism and photography in Japan in the 1930s”
Jelena Stojkovic

Cheers! And have a great holiday week!