Friday, January 22, 2021

Watching January Unfold

Photograph of the four volumes in the wooden slipcase
We've blogged before about one of our artists' books that was printed by the Janus Press. In fact, the artist and the founder of the press are the same person, Claire Van Vliet. Although she found the Janus Press in 1955 in San Diego, in 1966, Van Vliet moved the press to the tiny town of Newark, Vermont, where it still resides and continues to produce stunning collaborations by gifted book artists, writers, papermakers, and printmakers. Since she relocated to Newark, Van Vliet has won a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, often colloquially called a "genius grant" because it is awarded to creative individuals of significant ability without any strings attached.

Van Vliet's artistic prowess and creative intellect is evident in the many innovations in book design that the Press has generated over the last sixty-five years. We've found another little work of beauty by Van Vliet that we want to share with you today called Four Months / Four Seasons. Printed in 2010, the multi-volume work is the first of a series on the seasons by various artists. The four small books, titled January, April, October, and May, are contained with a simple but masterfully made wooden slipcase.The accompanying brochure states that "each of these four books is printed from seven carved linoleum blocks onto multiple sheets of paper. The sheets subsequently are attached to each other and folded to created seven accordion openings that together form a panorama".

The image below is from the January volume and, although it's hard to convey the true experience of unfolding this wintry panorama in person, we hope that you'll enjoy them all the same. If you'd like to see all four panoramas in person, come to Rauner when we're open and ask to see Presses J268fifo.

Image of the January volume partially unfolded