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AB Gorham ~ Nebraska

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Artist bio: "AB Gorham is a book artist and writer, originally hailing from Montana. She holds an MFA in Book Arts (2014) from The University of Alabama, where she also received her MFA in Poetry (2012). She lives in Tallahassee, FL with her husband, their daughter, and their three beasts, is the Press Manager at Small Craft Advisory Press, and teaches book binding and typography at Florida State University."

Unidentified Found Object Song
By AB Gorham
Reno, Nevada: AB Gorham, 2022. Edition of 50.

7.125 x 6.125 x .25"; 16 pages including pastedowns. Letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal 1 at Black Rock Press. Printed on Zerkall Book papers. Hand bound with resin shapes embedded into front and back covers. Cloth covered drop-spine box enclosure. Signed and numbered by the artist.

AB Gorham: "’Unidentified Found Object Song’ is an artist book that draws on published documentation of unidentified flying objects (ufos) and other alien phenomenon to create a mysterious visual/reading encounter. This book exists on the edge of visual and textual logic, taking recognizable objects and elements of landscape and defamiliarizing them through digital manipulation, unexpected color combinations, and isolation from context. Each spread contains a vaguely-familiar visual mystery letterpress printed in colors from saturated reds and golds to transparent violets. There is sidewalk cheese, lenticular clouds, and a landscape of crumbs. There is reassurance that what the reader/viewer sees is in fact real. The book ends with a silver landing. The text in the book, densely lyric and fragmented, follows a through-line voice that affirms itself as Transcriptionist, Jokester, Witness. Inspired by ufo research, including Allen Hynek's ‘Project Blue Book’, first-hand alien encounter documentation, and photos, diagrams and sketches from reported sightings, UFO Song seeks to open up a playful space within the conversation about believability and the shifting nature of truth and understanding. This artist book posits that creating a book-art-reading experience which captures the concept of making familiar things alien could lay the groundwork for larger cultural acceptance of an individual's distinctive, strange, real, or imagined event.

"Early written accounts, photographs, or videos of unidentified flying objects or alien encounters were often considered to be hoaxes, but the real casualty of many of these encounters is the way that these events jeopardize the integrity of the individual who experienced the encounter. UFO Song presents imagery and fragments of language in a way that challenges the reader/viewer to make connections, draw conclusions, reveling in an unfamiliar sounds and visual sequences, and maybe even expand their willingness to accept the rarest of visions as possible.

"The book's covers bulge toward the head with the shape of an UFO hovering, cast in resin and covered in bookcloth. There is a slit in the cloth exposing iridescent foil, illuminating the spacecraft. The viewer is enchanted by this. There are no revelations as the first spread yawns open, only mystery as text shifts in scale from 42-line Gothic wood type letters to digital all-caps DIN typeface, creating strange object-combinations that float above the horizon in the viewer's brain. The stiffness of the drumleaf spreads, in combination with the propped covers, asks the reader to handle this book with two hands. A sighting touches on the edge of known experience, glances at the infinite of space and is important for what these sightings reveal about our deep human need to experience mysterious phenomenon."

Unidentified Found Object Song book
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Casino Baby
By Matt Runkle and AB Gorham
Reno, Nevada: AB Gorham and Matt Runkle, 2019. Edition of 50.

6" x 6" closed; 16" x 16" open. Single-sheet folded structure. Written, designed, and letterpress printed from photopolymer plates in 2019 in Reno, Nevada, by two transplants to the city, Matt Runkle and AB Gorham. Letterpress printed using photopolymer plates in four colors on Kitakata. Housed in a folded cardstock enclosure.

AB Gorham: "’Casino Baby!’ takes place at the meeting of desert and mountains, inside a labyrinthine casino where house and player are in conversation. What patterns emerge from the carpet, the manipulated air, the onslaught of sounds made by machines?”

Matt Runkle: “We were both transplants to Reno, Nevada, when we started our process, and we separately wandered the landscape of the rapidly changing city and made sketches of its casino culture, its distinct high-desert ecosystem, and signs of the cultural and environmental shifts happening under the onslaught of tech and developer interests. All the while, we also tracked the less terrestrial forces at work around us—the daemonic, otherworldly beings weaving their way throughout the unique locale.

“We then took these sketches and used them to compose a series of patterns, inspired by casino carpets, whose motifs are designed to create a hypnotic, inward pull for casino-goers. We took these patterns and broke them down at points, subverting the force of their repetition, before printing our composition on one side of this single-sheet structure.

“On the reverse, we printed the results of an iambic-pentametric writing collaboration in which Gorham assumed the voice of a casino patron and Runkle the voice of the house. These were then interspersed with onomatopoeic slot-machine sounds before being composed in a Copperplate Gothic zigzag that bounces off the diagonal lines of the structure's folds.”

Casino Baby book
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By A. B. Gorham
Tallahassee, Florida: AB Gorham, 2015. Edition of 25.

3.625 x 6.125"; 18 pages, four of which are fold outs. One sheet colophon laid in. Handset in metal type (Tower). Letterpress printed on Somerset text paper. Printed pastedowns and free end pages. Paper-covered boards (paper by Cave Paper). Housed in a two-flap enclosure with paper wraparound closure. Bound at Small Craft Advisory Press in Tallahassee, Florida. Text printed at Penland School of Crafts in summer of 2014. Completed at Small Craft Advisory Press using a Vandercook 15-21, Vandercook Universal 1, and Epilog Laser Engraver. Signed and numbered by the artist.

AB Gorham, 2016 CBAA Juried Members' Exhibition, catalog: "The text for this book was printed at Penland School of Crafts in summer 2014 while assisting Steve Miller’s letterpress class. The book was an investigation into associative printing, in which each new image was created from some element (or combined elements) of the previous images. A final design didn’t exist when I started printing this book, in hopes of allowing the book to take shape as it needed to in order to encapsulate the artifact of process. The objective was to challenge my own processes of making artist’s books, and to hopefully create a book that is as much of a surprise for the reader as it was for the printer/writer. "

AB Gorham: "S.W.A.M.P. contains 4 stanzas, but, through the act of separation comes a distillation of concept, and so the words were broken apart into their sound components, re-arranged, and coerced into a compartmentalized palimpsest of language and utterance. This book's structure is a set of 3x3 grids: one running horizontally, and one running vertically. First, the words, then, the words intoxicated, then, an outline of the two stanzas, capturing the words as a group of objects that take form on the page. The stanza images move across the individual spreads, transitioning from left to right, following the movement of the stanzas. The baseline images are laser-engraved where the folios meet one another, countering the horizontal tendencies of the book with an investigation of ascension. Each new layer or interpretation of the inked impressions, equals 6 attempts at reconciliation, and these pages house the metamorphosis of text/words into sounds and imagery. S.W.A.M.P. is a difficult or troublesome situation, also, the landscape in which this can occur, and so how does one approach such unstable ground? Cautiously and never the same way twice. "

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By AB Gorham
Tallahassee, Florida: AB Gorham, 2014. Edition of 40.

6 x 6.25"; 36 pages. Letterpress printed on handmade cotton/abaca paper. Laid in a Japanese two-flap hard cover with title (once incised, once printed) on two flaps. Printed at the Small Craft Advisory Press. Numbered.

AB Gorham: "An attempt to understand the lore spun throughout lifetimes spent in the oil patches, courthouses and other haunts of the oil and gas industry, Whipstock manages the iconoclast of the landman, the grid of Township and Range used to identify tracts of land, as well as the more organic and inorganic forms that comprise the actual physical landscape. Paging through the book, the act of unfolding the folios creates a series of shifting views, a slow exposure of this complicated concept."

Laid out in a shifting grid, Gorham's poetic text and the book's simple but elaborate structure reinforce the straightforward complexity of a time and place.

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of the material of being plenty
By AB Gorham
Tallahassee, Florida: AB Gorham, 2013. Edition of 30.

6 x 6.25"; 32 pages. Letterpress printed using metal type and polymer plates on Somerset. Bound by the artist. Flatback binding with handmade paper endsheets and insert.

AB Gorham: "of the material being plenty investigates the intersection of detritus, disarray, and beauty. Pages have been run over, stained with turmeric, tea, coffee, pecan ink, bleached, pierced, and worn down."

A book as puzzling – and fascinating – as it is seductive.

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Page last update: 04.09.2024


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