Narrative Research Group workshop with Rosie Sherwood – ‘What is a Book?’

On Wednesday, 10th December 2014, the Narrative Research Group held its last session of the year hosted by artist, publisher and independent scholar Rosie Sherwood. Through experimentation with different mediums: the book form, sculpture, photography and text, Rosie has played with the language of the comic book to visualise the theories of time in the literature and to tell stories.

NRG workshop

Rosie spoke about “New Readings: The Comic as Artists’ Book”, discussing the changing relationship between comic book and artists’ book taking in recent exhibitors and publications. During the past few years there has been a paradigm shift in the relationship between comic books and the artists’ book in which a new way of reading the comic has emerged. Key to the artists’ book is the idea that the work is “almost always self-conscious about the structure and meaning of the book as a form” (Drucker, 2004 p.4). This concept can be applied to many comic books and in doing so one starts to ask different questions of the medium, expanding our creation and reading of the form.

Focusing on why this is happening now Rosie posed the question “What is a Book?” and examined developments in the publishing industry, the importance of reading the object as well as our own changing relationship with the book and materiality. Focusing on the comic book in particular, Rosie considered the opportunities afforded by these questions, expansions and the medium’s growing relationship with book arts. Along with publications by Chris Ware (‘Building Stories’) and other creators, Rosie also displayed two of her own art works, which explored the concepts of narrative or time, asking of the reader: What is needed for something to be read as a comic? How does comic book reading work? Are the signs of comic (the panels, gutters and speech balloons) enough to imply narrative?

If you wish to learn more about Rosie Sherwood and her work you can visit: www.rosiesherwood.tumblr.com