Artist Guy Laramée is known for his unique relationship with the humble hard-cover book. Seeing this printed matter as far more than text, he transforms the likes of large encyclopedias and dictionaries into incredible works of book art. Rather than reading material, they become sprawling mountain landscapes, grassy knolls, and icy caverns. It's as if the stories contained between their covers have leapt from the pages and materialized in tangible form.
Laramée creates different fantastical worlds by treating books in the same way as a piece of wood. Typically, he'll group several publications together, and their collective pages become the site of tiny stone crevasses, frozen terrains, and mossy rocks. When viewed up close, a book sculpture resembles a topographical map. To achieve this level of believability, Laramée begins by sandblasting the book (or books) into shape. Later on, he applies paint, inks, crayons, and pastels to bring them to life through color.
In removing pieces of the physical printed books, Laramée makes a powerful declaration about our culture as a whole. “My work, in 3D as well as in painting,” he says in an artist statement, “originates from the very idea that ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation.” Continuing, “So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply is.”