Maternal Mitochondria, the intergenerational art duo of Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan, will present a new book arts show, “Lending Library of the Invisible,” at the Southside Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive, Santa Fe. The show opens May 6 and runs through May 31.
The exhibition features collaborative books the mother-daughter team created during the pandemic. Though they’d been working in text and image for years, this is their first turn toward books.
“We must have been half-consciously avoiding the book as a form, perhaps as too easy or obvious a solution,” said Sagan, the author of more than 30 published books, in a news release. “It turns out that books are, indeed, a great vehicle for us.”
About six months into the pandemic, the pair took a book arts class together on Zoom. As the visual artist, Isabel Winson-Sagan learned folds, cuts and forms. As the writer, Miriam Sagan riffed off of the typical book arts approach of emphasizing craft and beauty, but wanted to delve deeper into the form with more emotionally vulnerable text. The two artists thus created a shared practice writing on the topic, “What am I hiding?”
Their results were edited for the “Red Book” piece in the show, which includes cut-outs. An interactive artwork,”What Am I Hiding and What Do I Hope For?,” asks audience members to hang their own answers on sculptural trees or put them in slot boxes.
In addition to literary elements, Winson-Sagan’s sculptural elements are still there. “Souvenir” is a book in a box with text that can be moved around by the reader. Winson-Sagan, who read board books to her toddler during the pandemic, was inspired by the multi-dimensional innovations in kids’ books. The book in the show, “Twin Camps,” is adorned with the cheerful plastic tops of baby food; however, the text looks at dark family and personal histories.
“Our shared love of libraries makes the setting inspirational for us,” Sagan explains. Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan will be in residence from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 17 and May 24, to engage with patrons and help people of all ages add their answers to the group art piece.