Ed Hill and Suzanne Bloom: MANUAL on books

Galveston Arts Center is pleased to present Ed Hill and Suzanne Bloom: MANUAL on books, featuring a new series of work by this Houston-based collaborative artistic team. The exhibition will open during the March 12 ArtWalk and remain on view through April 24. Curator Clint Willour will lead a gallery talk with the artists at 6:30 p.m.
MANUAL on books is a selection of photographs from MANUAL’s extended Book Project, a celebration, paean or praise of the ‘book.’ MANUAL’s new explorations are a visual meditation on the ‘book,’ incorporating the vocabulary of conceptual image construction with the creative energy of spontaneous and intuitive response. Considered pioneers of digital imaging, in this new work the artists embed their technological mastery, opting instead for seamless statements aimed at canny, utilitarian silence. Bloom and Hill write, “Our project… [is] a celebration of, a paean or praise to the ‘book.’ We should be clear that the ‘book’ is not so much the subject of our project as it is the object, i.e., our attention focuses on the material, the physical reality of books, their ‘thingness.’ As aesthetic and sculptural as books may be, they are primarily functional objects and their form fits their function. We have tried diligently to keep this in mind while making visual exclamations as to their happy presence in our lives. Essentially, we are operating in the genre of still life although it feels much more as though we are staging little dramas on a very small stage.”
Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill began their artistic collaboration in 1974 adopting MANUAL as a nom d’artiste. Although the originating moment for the choice of MANUAL as a name is long forgotten, the impetus for connecting to it’s several connotations remains clear: art as (manual) labor, and art as instructional medium (a manual providing insight and information). The fact that in 1985 their work took a dramatic turn toward the use of electronic rather than manual means is not inconsistent with the underlying irony which runs throughout their work.
Ed Hill was born in Springfield, MA, and received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1957, and MFA from Yale University in 1960. Suzanne Bloom was born in Philadelphia where she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, received a BFA in 1965 and MFA in 1968, both from the University of Pennsylvania. Both artists joined the faculty of the Art Department at the University of Houston in 1976 where they continue to teach. MANUAL’s photographs, videotapes, computer programs and animations, and installations have been shown in 35 solo and over 200 group exhibitions held in 12 countries, 29 states and 82 cities. Separately and together Bloom and Hill have received numerous grants including an NEA/Rockefeller Interdisciplinary Arts Fellowship, and several NEA Artists’ Fellowships in photography and video.
Galveston Arts Center is operating in a temporary downtown gallery space located on the corner of Market and 25th streets. The administrative offices are also at this location. The gallery and selections from GAC’s retail gallery, ArtWorks, are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday by appointment only. A flyer listing all ArtWalk participants with times and locations can be downloaded at www.contemporaryartgalveston.org.

PHOTO CUT LINES:

MANUAL (Hill & Bloom)
Adventures, 2010
Archival pigment print, ed: 5
22 1⁄2 x 32 inches
Courtesy of the artists and Moody Gallery, Houston, TX

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