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Dr Nola Farman Some Ways to Read an Artists' Book

Public Lecture, Visual Arts Centre, Bendigo, November 10, 2011

Artists' books are generally intended to be viewed as works of art. Since the early 20th century the book has provided artists with a form in which to explore new means of expression. Page, text, image, binding, shape and size are all aspects of a book that can be deconstructed and reconstructed through the experimentation of the artist.

Artists' books encompass a great diversity of approach. Some are lavish productions issued in small editions. Others are mass produced using affordable processes. Some exist within traditional models of printing and binding, while others redefine the book through the development of unusual forms and the use of new materials.

Through the creation of books as artworks, artists encourage us to consider the very question: what makes a book and what distinguishes it from other forms of artistic expression?

About the speaker: Nola Farman's art practice is diverse ranging from drawing, painting, large environmental works, installations, artists' books to sculpture (including sound, electronics and video). The bookworks are published by her own imprimatur, The Garden Path Press. They represent an enduring interest that dates from her earliest memories. They might take the form of installation, or altered books (enhanced readymades) or as books in their own right. She explores the book in its familiar codex form which, when altered, can shift the reading from a predictable everyday towards a fresh and engaging encounter for the reader. Her books reside in the collections of the Bibliotheque National, Paris; Centre Livre d'Artist, St Yrieix-la-Perche, France; The Tate Britain Library; Baltic Centre, Gateshead, UK; Winchester School of Art; University of the West of England; Yale University, NY; MOMA Library, NY; National Library, Ottawa; AGNSW, Library; Te Papa National Gallery, NZ and private collections.

Farman has been commissioned to make large public artworks internationally and nationally. She has received a number of awards including an Australia Council Two Year Fellowship and two Premier's Awards, namely the Western Australian Civic Design Award and the Predominantly Landscape Environment Award in association with Forbes and Fitzhardinge Woodland, Architects and Urban Planners. Farman was awarded a PhD from the University of Western Sydney.

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