Artist‘s Books of Beata Wehr
In this Virtual Artist’s Book Exhibition in the “Artist’s Book Gallery” we would like to to present our good friend an artist from USA – Beata Wehr. She creates wonderful artist’s books and artist’s book objects.
Beata participated 4 times in the “International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius”. In 2003 she participated and was on the opening of the “3rd International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2003” with theme of the exhibition “23 Sins”.
Beata Wehr is an award winning visual artist and educator. She was born in Warsaw, Poland, and currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona, traveling back to Europe every year. She graduated from Warsaw University in Poland with M.A. degree in art history and from the University of Arizona with M.F.A. in painting/combined media. She paints and creates artist’s books, examining in her work the ideas of home, place, time, transience and multicultural experiences. Her works were shown in many international and national exhibitions and are included in over 60 public collections in the USA and abroad among others: Biblioteca Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt), Book Arts Museum (Łódź, Poland), National Museum, Warsaw, Poland), Bokartas, Vilnius, Lithuania, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), Musashino Art University Museum and Library (Tokyo, Japan) , Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), UC Berkeley, CA, Walker Art Institute, Minneapolis, MN, International Collection of Contemporary Artists’ Books (Marseille, France), Smithsonian Institution Libraries (Washington, DC). Her work is featured in several books, among others in C.Liégois, L’art du livre tactile, Editions Gallimard–Editions alternatives, 2017, 500 Handmade Books, vol.1 and vol.2, Lark Books and S. Salamony, P&D. Thomas, 1000 Artists’ Books, Quary Books, as well as in magazines and numerous exhibition catalogs.
Most of my work relates to my experience as a European living in the U.S.
I came here in 1985 from Warsaw. My connection to Poland is very strong, so culturally I belong to the two worlds. In my work I address the problems with complete understanding on both verbal and non-verbal levels, adaptation, nostalgia, isolation, dislocation and identity.
I found artists’ books to be especially useful in talking about the issues of identity, immigration, and dislocation. I like their intimate format, and the fact that many media could be combined on the pages, creating layers of images. I often mix images with writing, pieces of newspapers, found objects and other elements reflecting the everyday life in the US as well as my links to Poland. I try to combine two different experiences from two different worlds in this “in between” situation. I started to think that it is possible, although my native life, language, landscape, culture are so different then my life here.
I am also interested in recording the passage of time, obsessed by the changes happening in our life, changes of our fragile bodies, our minds. I am curious how the past determines the present and how what is happening now influences our thinking about the past. The rhythm of life is different depending on the place we live, our age, occupation, gender, and role in a family and in a society. I am trying to capture chunks of time comparing different periods of my life, recording transience by creating journal-like books, time lines, letters from the past, calendars. In my work the past is mixed with the present, experiences from Poland with those from here. Some of the materials I am working with are found, so their history is unknown to me, and this mystery creates yet another layer of thinking about the time with all what is unknown and can only be guessed. Time and transience are very important factors in our life, and this why I am choosing them as a subject.
In my work I also comment on human behaviour and current events happening here and far away. These subjects together with immigration and transience are present on the pages and in my small objects, often in a somewhat cryptic way, waiting for the viewer to discover them.
Experiencing influences of the two different cultures during as well as living during challenging times shape my identity and perception of life, and this is what I want to communicate to a viewer.
© Photos: Beata Wehr
© Artist’s Book Creators 2020