The garden: a meditation on man & nature

Maureen Cummins book The garden: a meditation on man & nature shows the story of man’s interaction with nature throughout history, with the use of woodblock prints and watercolor. The illustrations are simple and striking with the use of stark black lines and additive color, while only being 3.5 x 3.5 inches big. The book itself is in a linen-bound slipcase with the illustrations printed on double leaves that can stretch across a table. The entirety of the book was illustrated, printed and bound by Cummins in the summer of 1993.

The artist is a native New Yorker and studied printmaking and book arts at the Cooper Union School of Art. In 1993, she created her print shop and studio in a nineteenth-century packing box factory in Brooklyn. She has produced over 25 limited edition artist’s books, found in over 100 permanent public collections. Cummins created 30 editions of The garden: a meditation on man & nature, and our Special Collections holds the second copy. There is a note from the artist written above her signature, which reads “To Diane Blumberg, with appreciation from the artist.”

Cummins is known for her use of found printed materials from original photographs, documents, and everyday ephemera, which she finds by scavenging in junk shops, dumpsters, and flea markets. Her influence comes from books, history, and the social construction of knowledge. She draws the viewer into her work by using compelling imagery and centuries-old craft techniques. Her goal is to ambush the viewer by generating an experience of surprise, wonder, and revelation. She currently lives with her family in the town of High Falls, New York.

If you’d like to see The garden: a meditation on man & nature by Maureen Cummins you can always visit us in Special Collections, located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am until 4:30 pm. If you’re a fan of artist books or want to learn more about them, our current exhibit, Artist’s Books: Challenging Norms & Forms showcases 24 unique artist’s books from our collections. The exhibition runs until March 22, 2019.

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