“in and out of conTEXT:
a bookarts invitational”
(context. early 15c., from Latin contextus "a joining together," originally past participle of contexere "to weave together," from com- "together" (see com-) + texere "to weave")
More and more, this magical little town is becoming the epicenter of visual and literary arts, among so many other artforms both contemporary and traditional. Each February, the San Miguel Writer’s Conference becomes ground zero for a gathering of authors, readers, editors, publishers, and book lovers. But what are we to do with visual artists who make artful books? A new exhibition, titled “in and out of conTEXT” aims to weave together these two arts, with Glen Rogers, DJ Barrett, Leigh Hyams and a few surprises. (I’m not telling, but they all have in common the letter B) The weaving arts are nothing new to La Huipilista Artspace, a home to textile arts that also specializes in craft, community and interdisciplinary concepts representative of the etymology of text and textile.
Accordian books have inspired artist Glen Rogers, who divides her studio time between monotypes, paintings and sculpture, and her geographical space between San Miguel and Mazatlan. In Spot On, she utilized fragments of art and found paper from an artist exchange network of which she is a member, Global Art Project. Each artist was challenged to create works of art using these ‘found’ pieces received via mail. Combining them with the scrap metal, Glen embarked on a play of words and images that are rich, bold and textural.“As a printmaker, I already had a passion for ink on paper and the book form challenged me to transform my 2-d work into sculptural form. Although bookart has never been my primary interest, I have returned to it for variety and as a unique way to express myself throughout my career.”
Another artist inspired by these scrolls was Leigh Hyams (1926–2013). Though she was primarily known a painter, visual journals were an integral part of her travels around the world. She carried a sketchbook with her at all times and often created art inspired by her journeys when she returned home. She first lived in San Miguel from 1958 to 1962 while earning her MFA at the Instituto Allende. Later, she lived in San Francisco, often collaborating with experimental artist and bookmaker Howard Munson at the Center for Book Arts. In 2000, Leigh returned to her beloved San Miguel for the final chapter of her life, and it was here in Mexico that she created the bookart seen in this exhibition. Leigh’s extensive art archives are stored at her home in Colonia Guadalupe, where her daughter, Gina Hyams, serves as executor of her estate.
After several decades as an improvising musician, composer, and producer, DJ Barrett has evolved as a visual artist whose work reflects the intersection between improvisation and composition. Collage, assemblage, and mixed media are complimented by his affinity for vernacular materials such as cardboard, wire, wood and metal. A self-taught artist, he embraces fortunate accidents, blatant mistakes, and inept craftsmanship, and finds that iron workers in San Miguel are the best assistants when it comes to experimenting with new materials. His bold art “un-books” and installations don’t fit neatly into any context or category, making them all the more intriguing. Come join us this month, we think you'll be intrigued and inspired!