Books as Sculpture

I had an errand downtown on Saturday mid-afternoon and decided to drop into Gallery Shoal Creek in the Flatbed Press building to see an exhibit that was profiled in the Austin American Statesman of work by Tony Saladino and Karen Hawkins.  I didn’t do much in the way of art this past week, so this was my chance to immerse myself in art.

Karen Hawkins work is derived from books.  It is definitely sculpture and is fantastic to see installed.  I could have spent the day amongst her pillars if I hadn’t had my appointment to get to.  I asked and received permission to photograph her work.  Thanks to Gallery Shoal Creek and Karen Hawkins for this fantastic exhibit!


From Karen’s statement on the Gallery’s postcard:

“Karen Hawkins’ work explores “the book,” a rapidly declining composition, and how, or whether, it remains purposeful in a digital age.”

As an ardent reader, collector of books, art journaler and intermittent book binder, I generally do not subscribe to cutting up books, even though I went through a phase where I altered books.  I can honestly say this is a tremendously moving exhibit.




Karen uses dictionaries, sheet music books and black and white picture books, from what I could see, to construct her sculptured, hanging pillars. In addition to the pillars, there were several small pillars sitting on tables in the gallery.  There were two wall pieces, one of which was incredibly striking.


This was the view as you came into the Gallery proper with the pillars just behind this wall.


I highly recommend visiting the gallery to see this exhibit and the many others which I didn’t photograph in the galleries in the Flatbed Press building.

This exhibit runs through June 14th.  The Gallery’s hours are Tuesday through Friday 10-5 and Saturday 10-3.