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MIAD president exhibits work at University of Oxford

A paper structure sits atop a pile of books

Jeffrey Morin and Steve Ferlauto, “Sacred Spaces,” 2003. Image courtesy of the artists and Books On Books.

MIAD President Jeffrey Morin’s work has crossed the pond to be featured in Alphabets Alive!, an exhibition celebrating the artistic and social significance of alphabets. Housed in the Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, England, Alphabets Alive! is curated by Robert Bolick, collector of artists’ books and curator of the “Books On Books” website.

On view from July 19, 2023 – January 21, 2024, Alphabets Alive! features work by over 150 artists. “Encounter medieval and modern bestiaries, miniature and monumental books, alphabets made by Renaissance designers or generated by artificial intelligence, and abecedaries of human bodies and beachcombed rocks … discover how the simple structure of the alphabet inspires works that are playful, provocative and profound,” says the website for the exhibition.

Morin’s contribution to Alphabets Alive! is Sacred Spaces, a book art collaboration between himself and Steven Ferlauto. At first glance, Sacred Spaces is a book. Upon opening, it asks the viewer to construct its parts into a chapel-like structure with quotes and impressions of the sacred space. “Jeffrey Morin calls Sacred Space an extension of Steven Ferlauto’s research into the role of geometry in the development of the Roman alphabet,” writes curator Robert Bolick in Books On Books. “Morin and Ferlauto first displayed the artistic result of that research in The Sacred Abecedarium (1999).”

Sharing space with Morin’s work are a number of other works by international artists. “The exhibition cases are structured around the alphabet, with the section “A is for Ox”, featuring representations in children’s books, sculptural objects and artists’ books which show the pictorial origins of the alphabet,” reads the press release for the exhibition. “In the section “B is for Babel”, artists’ books and children’s books present writing systems from runes to Cherokee to remind viewers that there is not one alphabet but many, and that alphabets like animals can become endangered, even extinct.”

Read more about Alphabets Alive!, keep up with President Morin on his website and explore MIAD’s Book Arts minor.

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