Friday, November 2, 2012

Paula McCartney: As If Everything You Imagined Were True

Paula McCartney's most recent artist book, As If Everything You Imagined Were True (page spreads for the entire book here, order here), is a lush visual experience that blends high quality materials, exquisite printing, and a wonderfully sequenced set of images. Produced on a small scale (100 copies), the casebound book consists of 40 pages of inkjet printed images on heavy stock.

The images themselves fall into three sets, examples of each shown below: color prints of blue sky and clouds, highly detailed black and white prints that emphasize mid-grey tones of birds in lush tropical displays, and high contrast prints of birds flying shown in patterns against an all white sky. Particularly notable is the lyrical and poetic sequencing of the images which alternates groupings of the clouds and flying birds (which, when you rapidly flip the pages, give a sense of freedom and movement) with the visually dense images of roosting birds which call out for slow, intense observation. Thus, the natural movement through the book mirrors the movement of the birds themselves -- rapid bursts of activity broken up by periods of relatively motionless calm. Another conceptual layer, captured by the books title, comes into play when one looks closely at the photos from the bird aviaries at the Bronx Zoo. Combining living foliage and birds with painted backgrounds, it is often hard to distinguish what is real from what is constructed. Couple all this with unmatched print quality and you have one of the year's best books.

Very highly recommended.

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