Robbin Ami Silverberg

Testament Textiles: Writers, 2009
Quotes about women by famous writers (Simone de Beauvoir, Honore de Balzac, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jane Austen, Betty Friedan, Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood) were manipulated to create textile patterns and printed like swatches of actual textiles. Archival inkjet on pulp painted Dobbin Mill papers, 12.5 x 16.5 inches, edition of 10. $750




Heteronyms, 2005
This is a bookwork made from a carved ostrich egg, an aluminum coffee filter along with 4 texts exploring absurd relationships in language. Heteronyms are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently and have divergent
meanings. The printed text has been cut into narrow strips and spun into paper thread. Archival inkjet on dobbin Mill kozo papers, ostrich egg, aluminum coffee filter, gromets, 10 x 5 x 5 inches, Unique. $1000

The woman who likes to wash can always find water. (English, USA)
The series “Proverbial Threads” consists of over 100 of industrial bobbins, each wrapped with paper threads that have printed on them a repeated proverb about women’s work. Archival inkjet on Dobbin Mill papers, vintage bobbin, 6 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches. $300

Clew Box, 2003
This tiny book object is covered in eggshells and contains mica windows that reveal the ball of paper thread within. Two texts by the artist, “That Tree I Distinctly Remember” and “Clutter of Love”, are printed on different colored papers and spun into the threads, which hang out of opposite holes in the box. The texts intertwine within the box but the only way to read the text is to pull out the paper threads, unravel and read. Dobbin Mill Kozo papers, eggshells, mica, 3 x 3 x 3 inches, series of 3. $650

Duster 2, 2001
When I was in Japan in 1998, I found a dusting brush actually made from the pages of a cut up book. In response to this almost confounding choice of disposable materials, I manufactured my own edition of dusters. The text reflects on this astounding use of a book & the philosophical issues only a book-cum-duster can elicit. Letterpress printed by Peter Kruty Editions on abaca/rag papers, wood, waxed flax cord, 30 x 2 x 2 inches, 2nd edition, limited to 42. $250

Morning Prayer II, 2000/04
In a tefillin-shaped container, this tiny book is accordion-folded in a step-like pattern and bound with a mica cover. On its small square facets are archive & contemporary photographs of the Staircase of Death in Mauthausen labor camp, which are interspersed with the one-hundred-eight-six numbers of the steps themselves. Dobbin Mill papers, inkjet printed photographs, teak, mica, ribbon. Container: 3 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches, Book: 2 x 2 inches, edition of 20. $350

Staffs, 2007
Open series, unique, a variation of the “Proverbial Threads” series. “Staffs” uses industrial bobbins that have totemic shapes which I have used to actually spiun the paper into thread. The text, a proverb about women, is truly transformed and illegible as it becomes a dot pattern on the threads. $475

Young wife during the night, beast of burden during the day. (Arabic, Maghreb / West Sahara) , 2007
The series “Staffs” uses industrial bobbins that have totemic shapes and where the paper has been spun into thread. The text is truly transformed and illegible, becoming a dot pattern on the threads. 12 x 3 x 3 inches. $475

Statement

Although the basis for my work, whether artist book or installation, is conceptual, much of my artwork stems from an essential materiality. My artwork reflects on both my material sensibility as much as the content and issues that comprise their core. Paper has been my preferred material for more than 25 years and I have explored its potential as a non-neutral substrate in my image making, object making and process.

An important focus of my work is interlinearity and language cognition – what words can actually communicate and their limitations. Can ideas exist without language and words? If word order defines meaning, is it the words themselves or the spaces between that contain those ideas?

Biography

Robbin Ami Silverberg is an artist living & working in Brooklyn. Her artwork is divided between solo & collaborative artist books and large paper installations. The work conceptually focuses on word cognition and interlinearity, with an emphasis on process and paper as activated substrate.

Silverberg is founding director of Dobbin Mill, a hand-papermaking studio, and Dobbin Books, a collaborative artist book studio, which publishes small editions by Silverberg, in collaboration with international artists.

Silverberg has exhibited and taught extensively internationally. Her artwork is found in numerous public collections and has appeared in such publications as The Smithsonian Book of Books and 500 Handmade Books. She is Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute and lives & works in Brooklyn, NY.

Robbin Ami Silverberg Website