North/South Libraries Olana- Frederick Church and more art by Beth Haber

North/South Libraries Olana- Frederick Church, 2021
Archival Prints
Mixed media on board

We are all Browsers
“Browser” a mid 15th century word in Old French “broster” meaning to feed on buds, branches and shoots. It is also related to the old Norse word for breast “brjost”.

In the 19th century it took on the meaning of casual looking.

The first “browser as we know the word today in our digital lives was invented by Larry Tesler, a designer, later at Apple Computer. Tesler’s first browser was a tree structured device. It enabled programmers to hunt quickly for items in a “Small Talk” dictionary first created in 1983.

Since the pandemic and the shift to a life so much on screens through Zoom, books on shelves appear often as backdrops. Signals of substance, alluding to information they provoke our curiosity yet “reading” them is rarely possible. They remain visual rhythms, an architecture and a mystery.

This project migrated during the lockdowns and was reimagined with the generous participation of creative individuals in the Hudson Valley who sent me photographs they selected of their personal gathering of books on shelves, or in stacks or in the case of historic collections- documented and curated by conservators.

The images became the core of the work presented here. Respecting the co -tenancy of the book as both visual object and text information carrier I looked to present the shared images in ways that reflected the interests of those to whom the books belonged. A legible experience was key. What do the books say? I made interventions in various ways, sometimes extending or doubling the initial image, overlaying or underlaying elements that reveal aspects of the interiority of the interests and content of the books presented by their titled spines. The hope is that by sharing these personal collections we can reclaim the earlier experience of browsing. Much as we navigate the world of screens, we are still in search of nourishment and the pleasure of discovery.
Beth Haber

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other works by Beth Haber

Stacked Books with Folded Clou..., 2021
Acrylic on board

Books on shelf with Camouflage..., 2021
Archival Prints
transparencies on board

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