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The magic of data

Artist books tell stories in shape, texture and color

The information age has changed the way Americans do everything. Images and words are a fingertip away at almost all times — Google maps, Yelp reviews, YouTube videos.

There’s an app for all of them, thanks to the artistic cunning of designers and the know-how of code writers.

Texas Woman’s University takes the marriage of art and words back from the digital platform and onto the pulp and pedestal in “Seductive Alchemy: Books by Artists.”

Artists books gather inspiration and collate them into a single work, often using image and text. Some artists using printmaking techniques to create books, while others use fiber techniques, weaving their own pages and stitching images or words onto them.

Some artist books tell a story in a unique “binding,” like the apple-shaped box that tells a story formatted in wedge-shaped chapters in the permanent collection at University of North Texas Rare Book Room. Other artists use a book’s shape and pages to record abstract or representational ideas.

Ruth Rogers, curator of special collections at Wellesley College, created the exhibit of 98 artist books by 76 artists.

“In this exhibition, I have arranged the works in thematic ‘families’ as a way of emphasizing how shared creative inspiration can lead to such enormously varied expression in the finished piece,” Rogers writes in her curator’s statement. “Like different pitches in a chorus, they enhance each other’s voice by being near one another.”

The exhibit runs through Feb. 15 in the East and West galleries at the TWU Art Building, at the corner of Oakland and Texas streets. Rogers will give a lecture from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, and a reception will follow.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Gallery admission is free.

— Lucinda Breeding