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La Huipilista Artspace Exhibit Treats Bookbinding as Experimental Art


By Lena Bartula

More and more, this magical little town strives to become the epicenter of visual and literary arts, among so many other art forms 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, In and out of conTEXT, aims to weave together these two arts, featuring artists Glen Rogers, DJ Barrett, Leigh Hyams, and perhaps a couple of surprises.

The original codices of early Mesoamerica, dating from the first millennium BC, were painted and drawn on handmade paper from the bark of the Ficus tree. In what we now call accordion, or concertina, structures, they recorded the doings of kings, the progress of wars and astronomical bodies, and the stories of myths and religion. Today, of course, books are made in every available material, and in such diversity: bookmakers manipulate and alter existing books, make their own paper, and fashion multiple forms of bindings. Some move away from the book itself into an abstraction of the concept.

In Spot On, Glen Rogers utilizes fragments of art and found paper from an artist exchange network of which she is a member. Each artist was challenged to create works of art using “found” pieces. Combining this found paper with scrap metal, Rogers embarked on a play of words and images that is rich, bold, and textural.

Although the late Leigh Hyams (1926–2013) was primarily known as a painter, 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, Hyams returned to her beloved San Miguel for the final chapter of her life, and it was here in México that she created the book art seen in this exhibition.

After several decades as an improvisational 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.

In and out of conTEXT runs from February 1 to February 23. The opening reception takes place Sunday, February 3, 2–5pm.

La Huipilista Artspace is located at Julian Carrillo 1 in colonia Guadalupe.


Art Opening

In and out of conTEXT

Sun, Feb 3, 2–5pm

La Huipilista Artspace,

Julián Carrillo 1, col Guadalupe

Lena Bartula or 415 111 3039


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