Terra Fragilis: Steel Books

September 5, 2002 - October 13, 2002
Central Library, Lobby Gallery

Earthtone steel books textured with impressions of rivulets and fissures make tactile the texture of time for exhibit goers invited to touch and turn the pages...

These steel books, with their rich copper earthtones and delicate fissures are themselves an evocative landscape reminiscent of the California desert geography that inspired them. The exhibition includes thirteen books made from torch-cut and welded steel plate, varying in size from 2" X 12" to 36" X 96", with two to 12 pages per book.

When Flores passes a welder’s torch over the steel plate page, he creates his own landscape -- a river runs across the page and ridges in the steel surface invoke a narrative of erosion and change. The books remind us of the timeless transformation of the earth’s geology -- a story compressed into a dense texture with uneven detail and earthen color. These visual elements form Flores’ language. Exhibition visitors are invited to touch and turn the book pages to make tactile the weight and markings of the passage of time.

"It is a pleasure to show my steel books in the context of a great historical institution, collector and guardian of books." says Flores. "Despite the seeming dichotomy – the Library’s books of words and my books without words – the steel books too may begin a story, suggest a mystery, an insight, or describe a passion."

"Brooklyn Public Library is delighted to bring ‘Terra Fragilis’ to the New York public as an exhibition that so clearly illustrates the cultural connection between art, books and stories," says Siobhan A. Reardon, BPL’s Acting Executive Director. 

The Artist

BPL Exhibition, Gene Montez FloresGene Montez Flores grew up in San Bernadino, California, where he developed his connection with the natural beauty of the Mojave desert located an hour away. Working with steel since 1957, he has created numerous kinetic sculptures that have been installed extensively in the U.S. and Europe, including solo exhibitions at Adam Mekler Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Kulturforum, Leneburg, Germany; Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA; and in group shows at Socrates Sculpture Park Tenth Anniversary Exhibition and "Artists Choose Artists", Long Island City, NY; "Outside In", Athena Foundation, NYC Municipal Art Gallery, NYC, NY; Maximilianpark, Hamm, Germany; Wanas; International Sculpture Park, Sweden; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; International Sculpture Center Collection IV, Wood Street Gallery, Chicago, IL and Chicago Pier Walk Sculpture Show, Chicago, IL among others. His work appears in the collections of the Los Angeles City Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM; and Colorado Springs Art Museum, CO among others.