Invite an interdisciplinary artist known for experimenting with storytelling into a library and what do you get? An unconventional narrative. As one of 23 artists selected for The 2012 deCordova Biennial at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA,Jo Dery 00 FAV was invited to transform the museum’s DeNormandie Library.
Combining collage, illustration, digital manipulation, photomontage, puppetry and print, Dery’s works have been described as “magnificent mash-ups” that “radically alter the viewer’s expectations for how a good story can or should be told.” deCordova CuratorDina Deitsch felt that the library offered the perfect fit for the artist’s unconventional but deep interest in nonlinear narrative and storytelling, especially given that it investigates our relationships to natural phenomena, the built environment, history and current events.
For the biennial, Dery created an installation calledChapter Three featuring three circular books and a set of wooden dice she made to sit on the library’s long wooden table, along with an animated projection showing a series of books as their blank pages fill with writing. She worked with a bookbinder and a sound artist to create the installation, and was careful neither to disturb the room’s original purpose nor its collection of literature.
“I really wanted my work to tie in with the space,” Dery says, noting that she drew inspiration for the installation from Jorge Luis Borges’ short storyThe Library of Babel, which tells of a bewildering library-as-universe.
Now based in Chicago, where she is an assistant professor of animation in DePaul University’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media, Dery grew up in Attleboro, MA and until recently was based in Providence. Her animations have been screened at festivals throughout the country and the world, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. She has been awarded grants from the LEF Foundation, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and The Free History Project.
As a survey exhibition that continues through April 22, the deCordova biennial highlights artists from across New England and emphasizes the quality and variety of work rather than any single or overarching theme. It is organized in five categories, with Dery’s installation loosely categorized under “Hybridity/Materiality/Third Wave Craft.”
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