As you may know I own a little art gallery called 23 Sandy Gallery here in Portland, Oregon. The gallery celebrated our five year anniversary on April 4 and being Portland Photo Month I decided it was high time to show my own work. I’m not sure why, but in the five years the gallery has been open I’ve never considered it proper to show my own work. So this month I got brave and said so what! I’m proud of my work and it’s been very inspiring to show it off. You wouldn’t believe how many people in the gallery over the years who have said, “I didn’t know you were an artist.”
Through May 12 you can see Interplay: Photographers Focus on the Book. My goal in curating this show was to present four photographers who create artist books using very different approaches in terms of style, structure, materials and concept. Interplay showcases one-of-a-kind and limited edition artist books by Elizabeth M. Claffey, Lauren Henkin, Clifton Meador and myself, Laura Russell. From fine bindings to altered books, to print on demand books and pop ups, this show will is an exploration of the crossover between the art of photography and the art of the book.
Here’s what I wrote about myself for the show:
Laura Russell takes a wholly different path in the creation of her limit-edition artist books. As a photographer in the digital world she found herself drawn to bookbinding as a way of using her hands again. After giving up the dark room to go digital, the book arts gave her a chance to step away from the computer screen. Her love of materials and the structural possibilities of the book give her the freedom to expand her photographic images to make books that are sculptural in nature. She revels in alternative book forms including pop up books and movable books and frequently incorporates non-traditional materials such as plywood, Plexiglas or Coroplast. Her limited edition, hand-bound artist books are at once a celebration of the vernacular and her own small efforts to preserve our social, cultural and commercial landscape.