Hymns to Ra. Austin Straus.

Hymns to Ra

(Lancaster, California): N.P. 2008. 4to, 18 leaves, spiral bound in black boards with aluminum painted collage element affixed to front. Fine. Item #204627

Painter, poet, broadcaster, and human rights activist Austin Straus has been producing unique handmade artist's books for several years. His book artwork is represented in numerous libraries and museums. This book is easily his masterpiece: both sides of each leaf, as well as both pastedowns, is an elaborate collage incorporating the full range of his artistic techniques and vocabularies: text fragments, images, three-dimensional objects inlcuding jewelry, buttons, metallic fragments, toys, coins, watches, along with painting, calligraphic drawings, and his distinctive burning though painted pages by means of a magnifying glass. The resultant work is a complex, interlocking bookwork that invokes the entire history of art, from ancient incised tablets to post-pop assemblage and the media blitz of an atomized culture. Each page warrants close scrutiny and at the same time they are drawn into dialogue with each other through the burned holes that penetrate them, opening small windows between them. A work of extraordinary artistry and accomplishment.

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