Granary Books, 2016. Item #GB_169
9 1/8 x 12 1/8 in., 96 pp., cloth over boards with slipcase.
“This book was sparked by a simple thought—I wonder if there are any plants that grow in both the Arctic and New York City? There are quite a few, as it turns out, and I embarked on a project of discovering the Arctic by staying close to home and paying particular attention to the libraries and land around me, searching for whatever Arctic plants I could find here.”
The Arctic Plants of New York City combines personal letters, poetry, prose essay, scholarly research, botanical exploration, and artistic investigation, and ranges from the Doctrine of Signatures to the sleep of plants, and from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Muir on mental travel to Giacomo Leopardi and Charles Baudelaire on the necessity of illusion for art and life.
Interspersed throughout the book are a number of two-page spreads that focus on a single plant, such as Common Mugwort, with a mounted botanical specimen of that plant surrounded by texts drawn from earlier writers on botany and set in verse, creating a field of word-objects interacting with plant-objects. The letters that open the book lead into a prose essay that touches on the souls of plants, their use in medicine and as spurs to mental travel, their transience, their migrations, their meaning. A bibliography lists the most essential works from the author's research and the book concludes with a reproduction of the index from Nicholas Polunin's Circumpolar Arctic Flora (1959), in which the author has marked in red pen the 88 Arctic plants that occur in New York City.
Written, designed, and printed letterpress by James Walsh, with 18 botanical specimens pressed and mounted by the author. Bound by Daniel E. Kelm at the Wide Awake Garage.
This is from an edition of 40 copies, of which 34 are for sale. As new.
ABOUT JAMES WALSH: James Walsh was born in Brooklyn, NY, studied literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY and Oxford University, England, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He has been making visual work in a variety of media since 1986, and has shown throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to numerous one-of-a-kind artists' books, he is the author of three books with small presses: Foundations (1997), Solvitur ambulando (2003), and There was Something in the Weather (2012). Awards and residencies include a Fulbright Fellowship to Turkey, an apexart Outbound Residency in Bangkok, and residencies at MacDowell Colony, The Edward Albee Foundation, Art Omi, Wave Hill, and The Center for Book Arts.An annotated bibliography for The Arctic Plants of New York City is available on Art Journal.