Altered Books by Margaret Whiting
April 3 - May 21, 2006
There will be a Gallery Reception on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 12:00pm, Hovde Lounge. All are welcome.
Waterloo artist Margaret Whiting graduated in medical technology from the University of Minnesota and received a BA from the University of Northern Iowa with emphasis in printmaking and papermaking. She has participated in numerous regional, national and international shows and her work is included in several museum collections, including the Rockford Art Museum (Illinois), the Cedar Rapids Art Museum (Iowa) and the Dahl Arts Center (Rapid City, SD).
"My artwork is about environmental issues. I prefer to recycle old books that would otherwise end up in the landfill. As raw material for my art I use old dictionaries, encyclopedia sets, law books, and science books, all things that have been discarded, not yet antique and not new enough to serve as reference value. These books provide text and imagery for me to compose my own narrative. After I have collected these books in my studio, I skim through them to find appropriate material for individual projects. The spine might go into one work, the table of content into another and the text pages yet into another. The images of plants and animals from old natural history books, botany books, and encyclopedia sets are filed away awaiting just the right project. The quality of the paper in the books is important in my decision making process since some papers when torn will create more beautiful textures than others in making landscape forms.
While reading law books I find cases dealing with land use and property rights. I circle phrases in that text when I am in agreement with what is said (parallel dialogue), but more often, I circle words to suggest a broader perspective – a new way of thinking about what is being discussed, indicating more protection of the land in the future. I collect natural materials for use in my artwork – shells, pods, leaves, fossils, bones, etc. I have file drawers full of these objects and I spend a lot of time sorting to find just the right specimen for a specific work of art. I juxtapose law pages with these materials collected from nature, making a literal connection between man made laws and nature’s laws. I am fascinated by the repetition of patterns found in nature and I often place human anatomy drawings next to objects from nature with similar or identical design to remind us of the interconnectedness of all things."