Fine art photographer Cara Barer has created two new beautiful book sculptures. Dream Tree started off as a novel titled “Enigma” while Blue Butterfly was, in its previous life, an ordinary yellow pages. They, along with Barer’s other works, are currently being shown in an exhibition titled Bound & Unbound at Foster/White Gallery in Seattle, Washington until July 28. (As an extra treat, Guy Laramee is also showing his incredible book sculptures at that gallery, at the same time.)
While we’ve enjoyed her work before, we never really got a sense of how she created these sculptures…until now.
“First I work with the book as sculpture,” she tells us. “I usually spray it with water, or soak it in water. I bend, mold, tear, cut, twist it to the form that I want with clamps, clothespins, hair rollers, pencils, string, glue, or whatever it takes to get it in the desired shape. I wait for it to dry, and remove all of those things. The easy part is scanning. I just lay it on the scanner and make the scan. The fine tuning and the rest of the real work takes place in Photoshop. I first have to fight the dust. Once I've eliminated that problem, I move on to more adjustments. When I'm happy with the image, I begin proofing it until I'm satisfied that I have a good print.”
You’d be surprised to find out how this all came about.
“I didn't plan the book project,” she says. “It happened by accident, and I originally was just trying out the idea for fun. It started by finding a wet, crumpled book on the sidewalk. At the time, I was painting and printmaking. My photography was only used as a reference for that work. I think I ‘found my voice’ through the experimentation with the books, and the lack of concern that I had for whether or not anyone would like what I was doing. I was just making the books for myself. Letting go of the idea that you should make art that you think someone else would like has totally changed my life.”
Love her unique art and that inspiring story.