Maternal Mitochondria, the cross-generational art duo of Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan, will present a new book art exhibit, Lending Library of the Invisible, at the Southside Library in Santa Fe. The show opens May 6 and runs through as of May 31, 2022.

The Invisible’s Lending Library features collaborative books that the mother-daughter team created during the pandemic. The inspiration for the show comes from more than a dozen years of the duo working with text and image, often in a sculptural way. After working for years on text and image, this is their first turn towards books.

“We had to semi-consciously avoid the book as a form, perhaps as too easy or an obvious solution,” says Sagan, the author of more than thirty published books. “It turns out that books are, indeed, a great vehicle for us.”

About six months into the pandemic, the duo took a Zoom book art class together from their shared studio on Route 14. As the team’s visual artist, Isabel Winson-Sagan learned folds, cuts and shapes. As a writer, Miriam Sagan moved away from the typical book arts approach of emphasizing craftsmanship and beauty, but wanted to deepen the form with more emotionally vulnerable text. . The two artists thus created a common writing practice on the theme “What am I hiding?

Their results were edited for the show’s “Red Book” piece, which includes cutouts. An interactive artwork, ‘What am I hiding and what am I hoping for?’, asks audience members to hang their own answers on sculptural trees or put them in slot boxes.

“Participation breaks down the barrier between writer and reader,” says Sagan, the show (and life) allowing viewers to be both writer and reader.

In addition to the literary elements, the sculptural elements of Isabel are still there. “Souvenir” is a book in a box with text that can be moved by the reader. Isabel, who was reading piles of hardback books to her toddler during the pandemic, was inspired by the multifaceted innovations in children’s books. The show’s book, “Twin Camps,” is adorned with the cheerful plastic lids of baby food; however, the text delves into dark family and personal histories.

The duo clearly find books and libraries inspiring. “Our shared love of libraries makes the setting inspiring for us,” says Sagan. His daughter Isabel grew up at the main branch of the Santa Fe Public Library where her father worked. “We want to add to library patrons’ experiences and expand the concept of what a book can be,” says Sagan. Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan will be in residence from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 17 and 24, 2022, to engage with clients and help people of all ages add their responses to the group artwork.

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