By ALEC CLAYTON
Rubbings as an art form are in Devon Damonte’s blood. He says he’s “deep into the rubbings world.” His father did brass rubbings back in the 1970s, and Damonte says he “spent hours with his dad rubbing gravestones.” He says printmaking, however, was his first love as an adult artist. For Arts Walk, he’ll show a group of 30 to 40 book-cover rubbings at the loft gallery above Bucks 5th Avenue. They’re relatively small, the actual size of the books, and will be displayed salon-style on three walls of the gallery.
These rubbings capture in wax crayons the words and textures extracted from embossed covers of what Damonte calls his favorite books. “In these works,” he says, “I hope to uncover layers of meaning and metaphor beneath the surfaces by graphic transmissions of direct contact with literary artifacts.”
Often, he chooses antique books because few modern books have embossed covers. One interesting exception is Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopkin, a recent book about a trip through time to the Greenwich Village of the author’s bohemian childhood in the 1970s. An adjunct faculty member at The Evergreen State College, Damonte teaches handcrafted, cameraless animation and works in printmaking, alternative photographic processes and handmade and sculptural paper.
The covers are meaningful on many levels and, as book covers should, make the viewer want to look inside the books. The textures and mark-making are expressive and subtle. They’re primarily but not exclusively monochromatic. Damonte also has work on display at the Storefront Art project of Olympia Artspace Alliance, at Fourth and Capitol in the old Schoenfeld’s furniture building. That exhibit will remain on view during Arts Walk.
Devon Damonte book-cover rubbings
The Loft upstairs from Bucks 5th Avenue,
224 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia
5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4;
Noon – 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5
Free (artwork for sale)