Artists collab on book-themed art exhibit


Nicole Pietrantoni and Devon Wootten held a workshop on how to make accordion and pants style books | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Vanessa Rodriguez, Contibutor

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, an art installation was made public in the EWU Gallery of Art. On that day the artists, Nicole Pietrantoni and Devon Wootten, also held a bookmaking workshop in the art building.

The bookmaking workshop included 12 student participants who learned how to make two kinds of books: accordion style and pants style. The accordion style is the style that is used in the exhibit itself where the paper is folded like an accordion. Pants style is where the paper is cut in the shape of pants and then folded into a book, hence the name. The students learned the two styles of books as well as how to make covers for the books.

“Everyone had a good time and learned a lot. By the end of the class everyone had a book they had made to take with them,” said Nancy Hathaway, Gallery Director.

Pietrantoni, a visual artist, and Wootten, a poet, both collaborated on the exhibit titled “What You Saw is Not the Sea.” The installation itself is comprised of accordion books of images of the sea hanging on the wall with quotes from Wooten’s project called “Best American You.”

The project “Best American You” is an online, ongoing project in which Wooten is gathering every line from the Best American Poetry Series in which the word “you” is used. The online project is interactive. Wootten and Pietrantoni often work together combining fragmented images of nature with text, as well as being collaborative artists. Both Pietrantoni and Wootten work at Whitman College as instructors.

Pietrantoni and Wootten have collaborated on many other works which are described in Pietrantoni’s artist statement: “Rather than a fixed site or single image, the fragmented columns, pages and text engage nature as an accumulation of processes, perceptions, and narratives – a dynamic and shifting site open for perpetual interpretation. Many of the accordion books contain text by Wootten, text which uses appropriation and recontextualization to encourage a more compassionate engagement with the world.”

The exhibit itself was a great example of what Pietrantoni and Wootten do together. When you walk into the gallery, you’ll see the accordion books stretched across the walls with the fragmented images of the sea. Alongside the images are quotes in a large font surrounded by a jumbled assortment of random letters. As you gain proximity to the accordion books, the blur of blues, greens, yellows and blacks will become more prominent as images of the sea, and the quotes, taken from “Best American You,” will also be able to be seen.

You can visit the exhibit now, through March 1 in the Art Building.