Denton artist Cat Snapp uses careful details to suggest a splendid messiness in “Small Breaths,” an exhibit of her recent works, at the Center for the Visual Arts.
Artist books seem to take pride in the liberties they take with the very notion of a book. For the inveterate reader, a book is an organized collection of paper (can’t they please bottle that smell?), glue, thread and binding board. For book buffs, it’s a stretch to even compare the data on an e-reader to a book.
Artist books use traditional bookmaking materials: paper, boards, binding, ink and text. Good book artists, who can turn this functional craft into a decorative object, put all that into a blender.
So Snapp’s paper — cut in pell-mell, jigsaw chunks and printed with neat graphics — is ever so orderly even as it defies sequence, chronology and plot. That stuff is the work of a reader — well, the viewer. Snapp uses smartly dyed fabrics to cover boxes. Once opened, they reveal stiff, clean paper — the thrill of a new story! — with fussy lines stitched in teensy tracks.
Color goes where it will (though Snapp probably works all that out, too), and textures lurk and show off at the same time.
Make what you will of the meaning behind the exhibit’s title. Small breaths can mean fear, exertion or delicious and fleeting moments where life happens at its most fearless and fevered. A lot can happen in small breaths — children are born and people die in the space of one flex of the lungs.
Snapp simply puts all these ideas into a context that invites the viewer to think, feel and carry on with the themes that are intentionally threaded and gathered in her artist books.
— Lucinda Breeding
• What: an exhibit of recent work by University of North Texas Master of Fine Arts student Cat Snapp
• When: On display through July 22. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
• Where: Gough Gallery at the Center for the Visual Arts, 400 E. Hickory St.
• Details: Admission is free. For more information, call 940-382-2787.