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What Follows What Comes Before at MCBA

Ruthann Godellei, <i>Anatomical Sequence</i>

Ruthann Godellei, Anatomical Sequence

Tucked in the back studio at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is an interesting exhibit called "What Follows What Came Before," featuring a number of artists utilizing a vast array of book arts that speak to the concept of sequencing.  

[jump] So what exactly are book arts? Well, as guests can see from the exhibit, the definition is quite fluid. In fact, since MCBA first opened its doors in 1985, the institution has been dedicated to not only preserving the traditional art form of book binding, but in exploring its possibilities in contemporary art.  

Thus "What Follows What Came Before" features all kinds of works of art from prints, to found object sculptures, to mixed media work, to jewelry. 
Each artist tackles the aesthetics of orderedness in a different way. For Sean Connaughty, his interpretation is manifested in a series of dog signs. The exhibition displays 45 of them, which are an excerpt from a larger piece. Created with mixed media on paper, the series shows cartoonish-looking dogs in various positions. They almost seem as though they could be in a children's picture book.  

Ruthann Godollei also utilizes paper, but her order is shown within the confines of a single piece. In Anatomical Sequence, a unique relief print made with a letterpress, Godollei lists missing body parts: left breast, 2 wisdom teeth, 12 lymph nodes, ½ an ovary, brain cells, and blood. Each of the items has a different typeset. There are visual symbols in the piece as well, such as what looks like an oversized fingerprint, a small image of dentures, and an hourglass. Godollei seems to be taking stock of tragedy, of the toll on one's body through age, disease, and turmoil, but not in a melodramatic way. Rather, the piece has a kind of sense of humor to it, or at least a matter of fact-ness that asks for no sympathy. 
Another beautiful piece was created by Kristin Cheronis and Cindra Halm called Why should we be any Different than Trees.  Made from Oak leaves and Japanese paper, the piece is simple, and while it has a poetic message, it is so beautiful that it doesn't seem overly message-oriented.  

Other work in the exhibit include Alison Nguyen's intriguing series of acrylic, epoxy, and resin pieces on masonite that explore evolution through intricate and colorful detail, and Nicole Drillis's necklaces created with found objects that spell out philosophical messages, and a sound piece created from a bunch of wires, a radio, overly large books, and records.  

It's definitely worth checking out the show, but you might want to give a call over to MCBA to make sure your visit won't overlap one of the classes in the Bindery. Call 612.215.2520 to check availability. MCBA is located at 1011 Washington Avenue South.