The Prison of the Past.
Portland, ME: 2006. Unique Work. In the artist's words: "I had this beautiful old cash book in my box of old books and book parts for several years. I read the phrase “prison of the past” in a book I was reading (can't remember what now) and it stuck with me. Back when books were rare, and mostly one-of-a-kind, they were chained to shelves with slanted tops, where one could read them, but not take them." Cawley is speaking, of course, of the "chained libraries" that existed in Europe from the Middle Ages through the 18th Century. Most were reference libraries and the books of significant value, the chains kept the books...and the knowledge bound therein...safe and secure. In a period where a fair bit of "book art" is glib, Cawley's work is subtle and engaging. Where much is to be seen once, enjoyed and forgotten, Cawley's begs "rereading", as with each rereading one is able to trick out another nuance...another wee tale. Cawley is emerging as a fresh and sophisticated voice in American book arts. Item #4427 Materials: antique cash book covers, various slivered book pages, copper wire and tacks, handmade copper chain. 4to.