Karen Hanmer

Artists' Books & Installation

Press Release

April 19, 2006

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“Personal Connections” Through Exhibit & Workshops

Karen Hanmer’s intimate, playful artworks present vignettes from personal and cultural memory that allow viewers to connect personally to her pieces.  She often incorporates archival photographs and text into books that fragment and layer images to mirror the experience of memory. Her books often evoke the experience of looking through an album, a diary, or the belongings of a loved one. However, many also have a playful presentation – taking the form of puzzles, games, or decks of cards, and many include tongue-in-cheek text.

The exhibit, on display in the Art & Music Department at the Main Library from now through June 30, features works from several series she’s created. Her Farm Series connects the viewer to the rural Midwestern landscape. Another series of work links the creative process of the artist with that of the inventor, explorer or engineer through first person accounts and archival photographs and artifacts. Other work comes straight from popular culture.

About the Artist
Book Artist Karen Hanmer exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Denver Public Library to Virginia Commonwealth University and Graceland. Recent and upcoming solo exhibition venues include The Center for Book Arts (NYC), Bright Hill Center Word and Image Gallery (NY), Illinois Wesleyan University, and University of the West of England, Bristol. Recent group exhibition venues include Art Centre Silkeborg Bad in Denmark, the Wichita Art Museum, Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and traveling exhibitions sponsored by the Guild of Bookworkers, the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists' Guild, and Ireland’s Wexford Arts Centre. Hanmer holds a degree in Economics from Northwestern University. She has studied at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts and with several Chicago photographers and bookbinders. She serves on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, a peer-reviewed online book arts journal. She is an officer of Chicago Hand Bookbinders and Guild of Book Workers, Midwest Chapter. She lectures and teaches workshops on book arts and digital printing. A complete catalog of her work is available online at www.karenhanmer.com.