WINTER RIVER, BLACK ICE
prints and photographs
by Paulette Myers-Rich
Minnesota Center for Book Arts Annual
Fine Press Book Art Publication
Opening December 9, 2017 through January 28, 2018
I am a recent transplant to Beacon, New York in the Hudson Valley, from St. Paul, Minnesota on the upper Mississippi River. For decades, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis was my studio/classroom/community and home away from home. I began as a papermaking intern at MCBA in 1985 and was present when the first annual Winter Book was produced in 1988. The Winter Book publication is “the embodiment of MCBA’s artistic vision to preserve and promote both the traditional crafts of bookmaking- hand papermaking, letterpress printing, printmaking and hand bookbinding, as well as the contemporary exploration of the book as art.” This has become my artistic vision as well.
The Winter Book production involves many hands: artists, designers, papermakers, printers, bookbinders and community volunteers join in producing a handmade, limited edition artist’s book featuring poetry or prose by a Minnesota author or editor. I learned how to set type by hand and do letterpress bookwork as a Winter Book intern under the guidance of master printer Gaylord Schanilec and stayed on to strengthen my skills working on many other Winter Book projects, eventually serving as master printer on two titles with interns of my own to teach. I came full circle as a letterpress printer and book artist through this publication.
“The artistry and hand craftsmanship of each Winter Book makes it an avidly collected series, included in museum and rare book library collections across the country and around the world.” (MCBA)
I have collected these books since 1990 and will share them with visitors this December through January 2018, in the Reading Room here at Photo Book Works.
Also on view are images from my project Winter River, Black Ice, a multi-year study of ice patterns as seen from the High Bridge in St. Paul, on the Upper Mississippi River. These observations of the frozen Mississippi River were made about a mile downstream from B’dote, the sacred origin site of the Dakota people where the Minnesota River enters the Mississippi. This confluence is influenced by the presence of a massive riverside power plant. Once coal fired, the newly built natural gas fuel heats water for steam turbines that generate electricity, resulting in warm water refuse that’s dumped into the Mississippi through an outlet on the north bank of the river. This temperature difference combined with the influx of sediment filled water from B’dote, influences the patterns of freezing through constant thawing and open water surrounded by ice and snow. The collision of severe sub-zero surface winds and warm discharge water flowing beneath the ice creates unique patterns that are constantly changing. Windblown surface snow, hard pack ice and the presence of power lines and bridge shadows add to the landscape configurations, the result of the built environment set in deep-time big nature.
Visit the Book Report page of this site to read more about some Winter Books on view in the Reading Room.
WORK SITES / WORK CITES
poetry by T. Kevin O’Rourke
photographs by P. Myers-Rich
various voices on industrial work in post-industrial times
November 5 – December 4, 2017
Opening Saturday, November 11, 5-9 pm
Photo Book Works & No.3 Reading Room presents Work Sites/Work Cites, featuring Bargehand’s Dance, poetry by T. Kevin O’Rourke and photographs by P. Myers-Rich.
Also on display are Traffic Street Press limited edition letterpress books Striped Ink by Greg Delanty and Hoyt Lakes/Shut Down by Mark Nowak, along with small and independent press books of poetry, essays and photography by various voices on industrial work in post-industrial times.
469 Main Street, #3, Beacon, NY 12508 firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter Hours now in effect: Friday – Sunday 1-7 pm
About the Exhibit
Bargehands’ Dance evolved from a long-time, deep-time relationship with the working side of the Upper Mississippi River upon which the poet Thomas Kevin O’Rourke and the artist Paulette Myers-Rich have lived and worked. Both have had visions there, observing simple and ordinary things knowing that they were not so simple and often extraordinary. The river is a force, a power, and a lure over the human animals that reside nearby. It draws you in. If you’re respectful and humble it will help you live and tell you its secrets. If you are a fool and cocky, it will kill you. This is certain. The men and women who work upon its waters know it and this book is in honor of them and an homage to the river dwellers, lovers, dreamers and those who have learned its secrets. Bargehands’ Dance is the fifth title in the Trafficking in Poetry Series published by Traffic Street Press. Limited copies are available in the edition of 50.
Also On View
Striped Ink, by the Vermont based Irish-American poet Greg Delanty. Delanty’s poems employ the theme of hand typesetting and letterpress printing as it reflects on the travails of his younger self working alongside his father in the composing room at a Cork newspaper. The title refers to a hazing ritual typical of those used to test the mettle of new hires who would like to learn a trade. This is the 3rd title in the Trafficking in Poetry series published by Traffic Street Press. Striped Ink can be found in national and international collections including the National Library of Ireland and the British Library. Only four copies remain available in the edition of 35.
Hoyt Lakes/Shut Down by the poet, educator and labor activist Mark Nowak, is the fourth in the Trafficking in Poetry series and is an excerpt from his book Shut Up, Shut Down published by Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2004. Illustrated with photographs by Nowak, who teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. This is a very limited edition with only a few copies available.
In addition, there are a number of small and independent press books of poetry, prose and photography produced by working class artists presenting their observations about life, work, economic and social issues, and the day-to-day. The reflections by these writers and photographers are made with irony, humor, sadness, and deep insight from their personal past experience, historic research or the present conditions of life for workers. Stories about a day on the job or a life spent in an industry that suddenly disappears along with your community of co-workers and the skills you have honed bring to light what has been lost in tandem with the gains of the new economies of high tech and urbanization.
The anthology Working Words, Punching the Clock and Kicking out the Jams, edited by M.L. Liebler, with writing by a host of contributors both internationally known and under-the-radar, published by Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2010.
Packing House Daughter by Cheri Register, is a “unique blend of memoir and public history … The daughter of a Wilson & Company millwright, Cheri Register recalls the 1959 meatpackers’ strike (and) skillfully interweaves her own memories, historical research, and oral interviews into a thoughtful, impassioned narrative about the lasting impact of social class, and the value and dignity of blue-collar work.” Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, 2000.
Blood & Beats & Rock & Roll by Tony Pena, Beacon’s Poet Laureate, has a chapter titled Racing Rats with poems that gives some insight to a poet’s mind while at work with musings on what could have, should have or might have been, for better or worse, and a tragic saga of a worker who gives his life on the job for his family. Published by Tony Pena, Beacon, NY 2016
Photography books include By These Hands, Portraits from the Factory Floor by David L. Parker, Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, 2002 and Railroad Voices, photography by Lina Bertucci and narratives by Linda Niemann, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 1998.
Work Sites/Work Cites, an ongoing artist-photobook series by photographer and poet Paulette Myers-Rich, is also on view. It began in 1982 when she trespassed on the site of her grandfather’s workplace in St. Paul to photograph the abandoned and derelict railroad complex about to be renovated for retail and office space. These portraits of the disappearing industrial work sites where she and her family lived and worked came in rapid succession. There was a period of fifteen years when so much local industry was shut down, abandoned and demolished that an overwhelming number of photographs accumulated. The Work Sites/Work Cites series gives context to defining these losses through various book forms, coupled with poetry. These are the fragments of industrial sites that present details revealing early pride of place to the eventual dereliction or complete disappearance of the industrial environment of the Upper Mississippi Riverfront and adjacent zones. In 2017, little remains of the former industrial sites which are now renovated, rebuilt or reclaimed by nature. These images bear witness and show the impact of de-industrialization.
Thoughts About This Work
The post-industrial economy has given rise to massive and rapid change in industrial communities primarily in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast. What were once dominant global industrial superpower/producers, these regions are now either considered the “Rust Belt” with large areas of abandonment, or they’ve been altered beyond recognition and gentrified for luxury loft dwellings or “clean industrial” uses such as tech centers, co-working spaces, artist studios, small scale light manufacturing or food production and brewing.
Some areas have been completely renewed, while others languish. The urban industrial landscape is a site that often places workers in contention with the forces that shape it and by extension, with one’s self. Being in it, being dependent on it is to be defined by it. For the working class, industry has presided over community, bound to it by a life in factories, plants, mines and rail yards. With selves given over to the vagaries of capitalism and politics, displacement is a given after a shut down when one’s sense of agency disappears due to the abandonment or renewal of these sites. Either way, many individuals have been left behind and marginalized while all around them the world continues to rapidly evolve, leaving entire classes of workers to feel like refugees in place. These books present various facets of life as an industrial worker and gives voice to those who have vanished in plain sight in this post-industrial era. They are not gone and should not be forgotten.
Sotapanna: A New Way of Seeing
An Exhibit and Publication Event
Paintings by Kyle Gallup, Poems by Ewan Turner
September 9 – October 29, 2017
Reception: October 14, 2017 6-9pm,
No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works
469 Main Street, Beacon NY
About Sotapanna and the paintings
These paintings are a part of a larger group of works on paper that the artist Kyle Gallup has been making since 2015. Her intent has been to adapt the Coney Island Wonder Wheel motif she’s been exploring by using an experimental approach in the studio.
With time, the motif of the wheel has organically transformed into other objects (arches and bell jars) from her more immediate surroundings, the Hudson River shoreline near her Manhattan apartment where she often views the viaduct in Riverside Park, and in her home studio, where on her window ledge a bell jar rests, housing cut-out paper birds perched on “branches” made from twigs gathered on walks. The resulting paintings offer hybrid spaces that share a common or related sense of space when the natural and built environments converge or the exterior world is brought indoors and enclosed.
The collaboration with Ewan on his chapbook Sotappana came about when he suggested that the paintings on paper she was making would be an ideal accompaniment to a group of poems he was writing about trying to find a new way to see the world. Hence, Sotapanna.
Sotapanna (Pali) literally means “one who enters the stream.” It is the first of the four stages of enlightenment.
The sidewalk carries with me all my thoughts.
It takes me apart and puts me back together again.
I am all ions and streetlight shining through me.
I am transparent, especially at night when the brightest color
-from Sidewalk, by Ewan Turner
The book of poems Sotapanna by Ewan Turner with works on paper by Kyle Gallup is published by Riverside Press, the poet and artist’s imprint and is available for purchase during the exhibit. Please contact email@example.com for more information.