Vashon, WA: Foolsgold Studio, 2016. Artist's book, one of 10 copies, from a total edition of 12 for sale, 10 regular, 2 deluxe (Sold Out), pages on polyester film and various metals and binders board, each copy signed by the artist, Donald Glaister, on the colophon. Page size 14 x 12 inches; 32pp. Bound by the artist: textured and painted paper over boards, hand-sewn with each page on tabs to allow complete opening of each page spread, black morocco spine, with sanded aluminum insets on front and back panels; title indicated by three parallel cut-outs in the aluminum inset on front panel suggesting a counting system, housed in custom-made black cloth clamshell box. The text is letterpress printed in Filosofia in various point sizes, on aluminum and polyester sheets done from photopolymer plates by Jessica Spring at Springtide Press. The drawn images are silkscreen printed on aluminum and individually painted by the artist, Donald Glaister, who designed and produced the edition, assisted by Gabby Cooksey. The texts are Zahra Partovi's thoughtful, elegant translation of VERSES (1986) by Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, a 12th century Persian mystic poet, published by Vincent FitzGerald and Company and the verse of Walt Whitman from the 1855 edition of LEAVES OF GRASS, starting, "I celebrate myself..." The colophon / artist's statement tells us that this book is dedicated to the memory of Don Moore, Senior Engineer on the Voyager Spacecraft Project, the late brother of Donald Glaister's wife, artist Suzanne Moore. Aside from the family ties, the two Don's were close friends.
The artist, Donald Glaister, writes, " 3 IN SEARCH OF THE UNIVERSE is a celebration of the search for what is beyond: beyond what we see, what we think we see, and what we know we don't see. Rumi, Whitman, and the Voyager project all were instruments of this 'grand quest.' The writers wondered at the immensity and the universality of being. The scientist gave Voyager the physical form to that wonder. It fuels our wonder still."
The book begins with couplets from Rumi, letterpress printed on textured aluminum with painted accents. The effect is ethereal and timeless, as are the couplets themselves. After the Rumi pages begins a sequence of amorphous, darkly painted, textured pages with angular cut-outs that reveal hard-edged industrial forms of plastics and metals beneath. From the fold of each of these page spreads emerges a translucent page of poetry, excerpted from Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS. These seemingly incongruous elements make perfect sense given the theme of the book in general and the theme of Whitman's poetry in particular.
Interspersed are the cut-out / Whitman page spreads and images reminiscent of engineering drawings painted on brushed aluminum. The aluminum paintings increase in complexity as one moves through the book. These paintings reflect the indefinite process of human creativity: the hard work as well as the flashes of inspiration that allow parts of an idea to appear fully formed in the searcher's mind. They are the visual ecstasy of "the quest." The aluminum paintings are visually oriented to the Voyager part of the trilogy but are equally applicable to the Rumi and Whitman facets as well.
Man has, from the very beginning, dared to search not only his immediate environs but the immensity of all he can imagine. It is in that exploration that human beings discover themselves, as is so poignantly detailed by Rumi and Whitman. Donald Glaister's art brings us, breathtaking page by breathtaking page, to the edges of what we know of the universe, with flashes of illumination amidst the darkness, and then brings us back to the light in each of us. As well as a beautiful book, perfectly crafted, this is a profoundly moving book. To open the pages is to embark on the journey, experience the exhilaration of discovery, wonder, and joy! Item #11141