Ben Shahn Galleries exhibit artists' books on contemporary artists

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:52

    Wayne — An exhibit of books by contemporary artists influenced by Surrealism, titled "The Bride and the Drummer," will be on view in the East Gallery of the Ben Shahn Galleries at William Paterson University in Wayne from Sept. 12-Nov. 25, 2005. Gallery hours are 10 a.m-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Admission is free. A reception for the exhibit will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22. Surrealism, founded by the French writer Andre Breton in 1924, attempted to express the workings of the subconscious by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter. The Surrealists, who included such great European artists as Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali, were also deeply influenced by the psychoanalytic work of Freud and Jung. "Since Surrealism began as a literary movement, with the first Surrealist text published in 1921, it is not surprising to find it is so strong and prevalent a force in the creation of artists' books," said Nancy Einreinhofer, director of the Ben Shahn Galleries and curator of the exhibit. "The books on view use language alone, or combine language with images in unconventional ways. In them we can see the influence of Freud and Jung and explore the various ways in which the Surrealist movement influenced the making of the artist's book." The exhibit is a play on the Surrealist artist Marcel Duchamps' masterpiece "The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even." It is organized around three broad categories: books that contain the illogical juxtaposition of language and/or images; works that demonstrate automatism and unpremeditated, intuitive or free association; and books that explore a fantastic or dreamlike voyage or narrative. French artist Francine Zubeil juxtaposes differing comments with the figure of a young girl dressed as a ghost-like bride in "Panique Generale (General Panic)." Printed in stark black and white on thin frosted mylar, the text, in red ink, offers thoughts such as "forgetfulness" and "one no longer knows if one is lying." American artist John Chamberlain juxtaposes language with language in "Rand Piece," a conceptual piece realized in connection with the Los Angeles County Museum's "Art and Technology" exhibit, for which 80 artists collaborated with corporations. Paired with the Rand Corporation, Chamberlain circulated memoranda, did some office e-film screenings, and eventually handed out a questionnaire with a hypothetical set of questions for which all answers were considered valid. The result was typed and is presented in a plastic report cover. John Cage's 1993 sound installation, "Writings Through the Essay: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," explores the Surrealist focus on automatism and free association. Letters arranged in vertical patterns similar to acrostic record the installation, which was exhibited by Cage in 1987 at Documenta 8 in Kassel, Germany. Francois Deschamps's "Memoire D'un Voyage En Oceanie" presents a dreamlike narrative. Transporting himself back to 1913 in the waters around New Zealand, the artist sets off on an exploratory voyage on the schooner Curiosity. "Recently discovered" photographs, drawings and notes describe an ill-fated journey. The exhibit is one of three shows currently on view in the Ben Shahn Galleries. "Revelation and Revolution: 150 Years of Women's Collegiate Fashion," in the Court Gallery, focuses on women's collegiate fashion in the context of a dynamic American culture, in celebration of William Paterson's 150th anniversary in 2005. On view in the South Gallery is the annual exhibit of works by the William Paterson University art faculty. The exhibits are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts' Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Ben Shahn Galleries are wheelchair-accessible. Large-print handouts are available. For additional information, call 973-720-2654.