Marginalia – Stephanie Babcock

See Uterus

Image: Stephanie Babcock, Untitled, 3″ x 5″ x 9″, book with bleach, 2014

April 3rd – 6th, 2014
Opening reception: Thursday April 3rd,  7-9 pm
Artist talk: Thursday April 3rd, 2pm

In a book I lose my self. I am whomever I want.  In some of those moments I am happy because I don’t have to be me; a character I often deem uninteresting, and unworthy of fascination. In my saddest moments I choose to turn to something that isn’t real, worlds that never existed. I can escape and resurface better, feeling refreshed and new. I have taken my relationship with books, the therapeutic effect they have on me, and investigated through them what makes me sad.  As objects, books can help me address my issues and resolve my unhappiness.

These books have become a part of me. Parts I’m not willing to reveal to anyone. They are vessels; objects that I place myself in.  Some books are accessible, some never to be read or opened again. Each book represents a frustration, hate, flaw, critique, as well as my humour, dreams and streams of consciousness. I often wish to be true to my feelings but am too afraid; I have discovered that I am, subconsciously, destroying these books so they become like me, unreadable. Like all my art they are the result of the battle between what I want to show versus what I am willing to reveal.  I am throughout this process learning about myself, and in doing so am able to help heal my insecurities and embrace who I am. This exhibition is not only a way of revealing of the anxieties I feel everyday but also a way of purging of them, a way to rid myself of the sludge that is my own self-deprecation. Contempt I feel for myself is transferred to these books. I wipe off the insecurities and make room for healthier feelings.

The title of my exhibit, Marginalia, carries with it the fascination I have with books, on a level that isn’t readily explainable. Marginalia refers to the writing that readers will put in the margins of their books. We can all recall finding a used book and in it discovering some past owner’s personal remarks, whether it is a phone number, underlined quotes or their own footnotes. There’s something inherently personal about finding somebody else’s writing in a book; it’s a special feeling, like being told a secret or seeing old photographs. I think that’s because we are getting a glimpse into a world that is somebody else’s entirely. It is my belief that nobody reads the same book twice, and to peer into the world of another reader feels like a very intimate act. Marginalia acts as an emotional and mental cue into how someone experiences his or her text; that is what this exhibition embodies to me.  Every single person is being invited into my world, and everyone is going to hopefully leave my exhibition experiencing something completely different. I am aware that what I choose to reveal will be different than what is being read and I embrace that, as that is the inevitability of books.