The New Scroll Exhibitions

Leslie Nobler, USA

This is a report on my experience acting as curator and artist, as I work with non-profit exhibition spaces to present artistic responses to the cultural shift we are experiencing as books, especially illustrated and artist’s books, become electronic and web-based. The artists proposed for these exhibitions also grapple with change due to technology, and our connection to the handmade, the scribed, and even the sacred, helps us reflect on the state of text and the scroll today. All are very inspired by textual and visual elements of their own heritage and spiritual roots. All use materials in rich and engaging ways.

The first (and current) exhibition, entitled "The Job Series" is now at the Cheng Library Gallery of William Paterson University of New Jersey. The next exhibition, "Heirlooms," a solo show of my work, is set to run at the Metropolitan Campus Gallery of Farleigh Dickenson University. The third, and largest exhibition of the group will be mounted at the Hamilton Street Gallery, a coop artist space in the “arts district” of Bound Brook, NJ; it's working title is the "New Scroll Show." We plan to follow with other shows at cultural arts centers (or major regional libraries) such as the Baird Gallery of South Orange, NJ or the Clifton Gallery located in northern New Jersey, and/or the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art, in Upstate New York. These are non-profit, educational or “coop” venues, and all maintain an active web presence.

Merging history with modern (and futuristic) imaging tools brings an important level of humanity, or soul, to these works. According to renowned photographer Jerry Uelsmann, art made with technology, with machines, must nonetheless connect with human emotion; it can’t all be about the “bells and whistles.” This group of digitally-connected artists strive to hit this mark. As technology changes the flow of the written and visual narrative, exploring the early scroll form seems evermore necessary and timely.

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