samedi 12 mai 2012

Lex-Icon Blog Project Post 55: Kate Van Houten

from Clayton Eshleman's Eternity at Domme

This image with art by Kate Van Houten and text by Clayton Eshleman is from Clayton Eshleman's Eternity at Domme and is typical of the work Estepa Editions has published. Visual artist Kate Van Houten’s Estepa Editions produces books, just a few in the year, in small editions. A book with a printed text - often poetry and a visual artist's work. The visuals parallel the text.  All the editions are about two people cooperating, interacting in their respect for each other. As Van Houten says:
          “I like to think of them as accompanying rather that illustrating text. Certainly the abstractness of the work avoids literal representation of the authors text. It can work the other way around too. Here in Eschelman’s book the monotype image at the opening of the book serves as a dynamic say - curtain up, lights low - on authors importance to take center stage. Two monotypes recto-verso of a page serve to divide the English original from the French translation and keeps the beat of Eshleman's powerful imagery. The tactual quality of the hard cover, the choice of colors for the cloth cover and the guide page are like any bookmakers understanding and dialogue with the text's intentions as well as all decisions of typeface and layout. Here the intentions of the text determine the book's look.
          The image here is the monotype. The deep black is the first drawing and the recto image is the printed fantôme image. In other words it was not reworked. As Eshleman dug into the head of the mammoth I thought to go into some nether region of a spontaneous ancient space of my own. This is near impossible as we are so very far away from our prehistoric souls - or are we? Or we cannot recognize them nor grasp that primary being. But it is there - we know that. Then it slips away. Thinking of animals made drawings feasible for the poem.  Great animals silently moving in a new earth. That big paw came up and the ring. ”—Kate Van Houten

Kate Van Houten is an American visual artist known both for her art books and her sculptures, engravings and painting. Her studio has been located in Paris for over 30 years. She has had exhibitions in France, the USA, Japan, Belgium and elsewhere. Kate Van Houten was one of the artists focused on in Mary Anne Rose’s 2009 book “EXPATRIATE EXPERIENCE and WOMEN ARTISTS: Creative Lives and Creative Work in Context".
A beginning of a blog for Estepa Editions exists at: though it is under development. To read a review by Jennifer K Dick on EyePreferParis site and see some of Jennifer’s photos of Kate at work in her engraving studio: For other artists books with Kate Van Houten’s work in them:
As Van Houten says of some of the other Estepa Editions books: “Ouroboros has a drawings of a goddess in a totally abstract text.   Other books are pages of visuals in sequence to evoke the tale. Metamorphose is strictly line drawings. It was made to explain the meaning of the word as was asked by my 8 year old friend.  Text was left out considering it would have been anecdotal.  On Foot has an introduction to indicate its reason to exist. Without the title I wonder if the reader would see the thought behind the images.” Van Houten will be present on campus for Lex-ICON and Estepa           Editions books will be on display. Van Houten will also participate in the closing ceremony round table “table ronde des maisons d’éditions” the 9th June 2012 (see programme: 
Pour une présentation de ce blog, voir //
To see a presentation of this blog project:

To see our CONFERENCE programme for 7-10 June 2012//
Pour voir notre programme du colloque qui aura lieu les 7-10 juin 2012:

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