Please join us on the afternoon of Saturday February 21, 2009 from 1-3 PM for the launch of the Ex Libris multiple, and informal readings by the artist. An installation of the Ex Libris digital prints will be on view from February 21 through March 7, 2009.
Ex Libris is both an accordion-style multiple and a series of seven digital prints. Initially bemused by interior decorators who reassemble clientsâ€™ libraries into â€˜mountainâ€™ and â€˜valleyâ€™ configurations, Balfour set out to create meaningful and no less attractive concatenations of books. Acknowledging books as objects of beauty as well as substance, possessions people often refuse to get rid of even though they will never again be read, Balfour reflects on what they mean to their owner.
Drawing from her idiosyncratic approach to shelving, Balfour groups and orders her books in certain arrangements staged for this project. The titles visible on the booksâ€™ spines act as curious placeholders that are enigmatic or evocative, depending on oneâ€™s knowledge of the book in question. Beginning with Yellow Shelf and culminating in Death Shelf, the work ends on a positive note with mention of the afterlife. Overall, Ex Libris is an admittedly slow read.
Ex Libris, self-published, Toronto, offset lithography, 17.8 × 73.7 cm, edition of 1000.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Barbara Balfour is an interdisciplinary and print media artist and curator who has exhibited her work and lectured across Canada and in the USA, UK and France. She has been a member of two artist collectives, the Toronto-based Spontaneous Combustion, and Venus Fly Trap based in Montreal. Her recent solo exhibitions include Soft Spots (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge), Designs for the Anti-Bubble (The Other Gallery, Banff), Selfish (The Koffler Gallery, Toronto) and Living & Dying (YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto – reviewed in Art in America). In the field of professional printing, she has worked for such artists as Leon Golub, Robert Indiana, Komar and Melamid, and David Rabinowitch.
In addition to print installation, artist’s books, and multiples, Professor Balfour has incorporated writing, video, and digital imaging into her art. Her art practice has been an inquiry into the representation of women within medical discourse and an examination of the relationship between soma and psyche. In her current research, she is considering notions of selfishness, manifestations of printing error, and instances of failure.
Professor Balfour joined the faculty in the Department of Visual Arts at York University in 1999.