Book As Art, 30 Years in The Making

In May this year, Queensland based artist Catherine McCue Boes lunched her retrospective exhibition at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery. Producing artist books for more than thirty years Catherine presented forty handmade artist books that cover a wide range of inspirational points such as literature, poetry, stories, science, travel, environment and biography. Often produced as small editions or as unique, these works are narrative driven others whimsical and playful and still others are dark and moody.  

In some cases, your first instinct to pick it up begins with a cover. How many times have we literally judged a book by its cover? Put it down because we don’t like the image or haven’t liked its touch or been repulsed by the words, on the other hand how many times have we deliberately chosen one because its texture is seductive or it sits well in your hand. A Thousand Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s is a memorable book of fiction and one you would choose to reread many times. But the appearances of an artists’ books takes us on another journey. Not all the story is ever in words, they can be symbolic, visual representations, textured, fold out, become concertinas, have holes stamped out of them like the invitation for this show.

It is all a fascinating process and little wonder it is a retrospective of 30 years work. A highly commendable achievement and commitment to forging new approaches, producing many variations on what a book can be. From a sculpture or a box; a pseudo roll of film from an old camera, and like Pandora’s Box what will come out next?

The artist books are in the form of drawings in some cases or photographic records or a specific graphic medium. In this case Catherine has also used etchings, lithographs, computer generated prints, mono printing, screen printing, solar etching, lino printing and photography. Certainly the repertoire of a consummate printmaker who has made it her medium.

Congratulations on a wonderful exhibition Catherine, always my pleasure to officially open Books as Art, 30 years in the Making Jennifer McDuf 

A full review of the exhibition may be viewed at