Aaron T Stephan -- The Problem with Ladders
July 25th through September 8, 2007
Artist Reception, Friday, August 3 from 5-8 PM
at Whitney Art Works
492 Congress Street
I spent a large part of the last year collecting
over 15,000 books from local libraries and book
stores. I pored over these books - measured,
weighed, sorted, cut, sanded, glued, and nailed
them. As a result, I gained an intimate and
unusual relationship to these texts. This process
has destroyed my reverence for the book while
forcing me to confront the sheer mass of human
thought they contain.
The work in "The Problem with Ladders" is based
on my physical understanding of books as cultural
objects that tell a story, assert physical presence,
and serve as icons of knowledge.
I hope to question, alter, and explore my
relationship to what I read and how I digest it.
--Aaron T Stephan, 2007
As noted above, Stephan has spent the last year
scouring library depositories to collect hundreds
of discarded books from across New England.
"The Problem with Ladders" is the result of
intense sorting, measuring, cutting, photographing,
and arranging of this eclectic library of discards.
The result is a monumental sculptural work which
edifies the texts into a self-contained building
with a surprising interior space.
The exhibition will also include textual photographs,
and a new series of the anatomy book collages for
which he has won wide acclaim. These new works
explore ideas ranging from contemporary
philosophical issues to the basic need for
shelter,including some of Stephan's most ambitious
works to date.
"The Problem with Ladders" challenges notions of
self, loss, and understanding.
Stephan is a Portland resident who originally hails
from Western New York. He made his home in Maine
in 2000 to attend the graduate program at the
Maine College of Art, where he graduated
with an MFA in 2002.
Whitney Art Works
492 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 12-6 PM