WMU News

Gallery II features Silverberg exhibition of artist books

Sept. 26, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- New York City artist Robbin Ami Silverberg will exhibit a selection of her handmade artist books in Gallery II, Sangren Hall, at Western Michigan University, Oct. 2-30. Gallery II hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Silverberg's art is in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art; Yale University; Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest; and the Technikon Natal Gallery, Durban, South Africa. She has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally.

Silverberg will give a lecture on her work Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. in 2302 Sangren Hall, which will be followed by a reception in Gallery II. The lecture and reception also are free and open to the public.

Robbin Silberberg lives in a converted stable in Greenpoint, N.Y., a factory district in Brooklyn, and also has established Dobbin Mill there, which is one of only three artist's paper mills in New York City.

As a sculpture student at Princeton University in 1979, Silverberg first developed an interest in paper as a medium and made her first sculptural books. She later went to Austria for three years to learn bookbinding at the Werkstatt fur Buchgestaltung in Vienna. She is self-taught in papermaking.

Silverberg's artwork is divided between solo and collaborative artist books, and large paper installations. In her WMU exhibition, Silverberg will show a selection of her artist books. These have become broadly recognized, because they go beyond the demonstration of various techniques, methods, and quality production to the use of the medium as a vehicle for powerfully expressive statements and ideas. For instance, "Dreams to Ashes," a poem about a nightmare, is comprised of unburned matches embedded into paper made from mugwort, then combined with photographs of young boys on translucent papers to soften the destructive quality of the other elements.

"What is consistent to all my artist books is an obsessive need to fully articulate those ideas in every detail," Silverberg says. "The structure and design, the methods of production, the choice of materials and then, the process of reading and viewing are all essential aspects of the final work."

Dobbin Mill is essentially an art studio that draws upon the collaborations and contributions of local and international artists. Classes are offered on the techniques and aesthetics of both paper and books, and warm weather allows them to be held in the garden. Apprenticeships are available, however only two are awarded at any given time.

Dobbin Books is the artist book studio that was added to the Mill in 1991. Its goal is to produce collaborative book projects with artists and writers and to promote book arts through exhibitions, lectures and workshops.

For additional information, contact the Department of Art Exhibitions Office at 269 387-2455.

Media contact: Jackie Ruttinger, 269 387-2455, jacquelyn.ruttinger@wmich.edu

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