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The Ground

$40.00 USD

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The Ground

124 pages with 2 gatefolds, 12” x 8”

An environmental artist's book and essay about creativity, individual complicity in climate collapse, energy mining and energy sharing.

From JAB (Journal of Artists’ Books), Spring 2014

Tate Shaw’s The Ground is a hybrid publication with an essay as artists’ book that explores literal and metaphoric notions of ground. The book weaves together a wide ranging autobiographical narrative with imagery of hydrofracking operations in a region of Pennsylvania where the artist had lived. The essay is thoughtfully interspersed throughout the images, with the text divided in such a way that the reader is never exhausted, and that the re-emergence of the images is not an interruption, but rather signals a shift in the story’s trajectory. The visual consistency of the imagery anchors the text, which covers art-making, family, friends, and the many things that take our lives into directions we never expect. The narrator’s eventual re-energization in Iceland’s geothermal pools neatly parallels industry’s insatiable quest to extract energy from the ground, firmly linking both portions of the book. The water motif also informs the images, which are scans of inkjet printed photographs of rural Pennsylvania that have been selectively blurred and obliterated with water. That at first glance the images could be watercolor landscapes makes all the more powerful the reader’s realization that they are witnessing the destruction of a region and its way of life. The archetypal elements of ground and water help The Ground resonate on a deep and universal level that ultimately complements the personal, honest intimacy of the essay.

–Levi Sherman

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