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Particle Press ~ Illinois
(Pamela Olson)

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Art Institute Chicago: “Pamela Olson joined the Art Institute in 2017, where she works as a conservation technician in the Conservation and Science Department. Her role encompasses collections care, exhibition preparation, and treatment of rare books and archival collections. Previously, she worked on the preservation of avant-garde periodicals from the International Dada Archive at the University of Iowa Libraries and with archival collections at the Newberry Library under grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds an MFA in book arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book.”

Seven Cases
By Pamela Olson
Iowa City, Iowa: Particle Press, 2013. Edition of 35.

9.25 x 5"; 45 pages. Papers: Zerkall book paper, Mohawk superfine, gampi paper collage. Images printed from metal ornaments an polymer plates created from drawings by the artist. Text printed from handset Bulmer, Twentieth Century, and Helvetica typefaces. Bound in sewn boards with paper over boards and a cloth spine. Laid in three flap portfolio. Numbered and signed by the artist.

Pamela Olson: "The project visually documents numerous visits to relatives in Prague over the last decade, and depicts the experience of an outsider being led through spaces primarily inhabited by insiders. The images and text are meant to reflect the fragmented nature of the visits over the years, with both abstract and identifiable scenes of the city that break apart and build off of one another. The text is taken directly from words and phrases that were heard, thought, seen, or spoken.

"The title refers to the complexity of the Czech language and the difficulty that many English speakers initially experience with its seven grammatical cases. The intricacy of the Czech language is mirrored in the topography of Prague, with its winding streets and hidden passageways that tend to deter visitors from experiencing the city as a native might. The primary intention of this project is to reflect a place that is beautiful, complex, and at times impenetrable. The pacing of the book alludes to walking or drifting through an urban space, and portrays the shifts in mood as one moves from neighborhood to neighborhood from inner city to outskirts."

Support for this project by the Caxton Club of Chicago.

Seven Cases book
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A Footless Knee
By Pamela Olson
Iowa City, Iowa: Particle Press, 2008. Edition of 50.

7.25 x 6"; 48 pages. Printed on Zerkall Book paper from handset metal type and photopolymer plates made from hand-cut rubylith negatives. Flat-back case binding with printed spine and bare bookboard. Enclosed in a paper portfolio with slip-and- slot closure. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Pamela Olson: "The book opens with an excerpt of a manifesto on cut-up poems by Tristan Tzara from 1920, followed by a cut-up poem composed by the artist from a contemporary article about fall fashion. Light grey letters tumble and blow like leaves across the lower margins of the pages, carrying over to the spine. The design is based on the artist's ongoing interest in the typography of the early twentieth century avant-garde."

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Particle Press SOLD / Out of Print Titles:  

Circular Logic
By Pamela Olson
Iowa City, Iowa: Particle Press, 2015. Edition of 35.

6 x 5"; 28 pages, Printed on Sakamoto paper. Interior images printed from metal ornaments and polymer plates created from handcut rubylith negatives. Text printed from Bulmer and Antique Condensed typefaces. Cover image depicts a CB&Q [Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy RR] route map, printed from photopolymer plates. Bound in a paper case with a cloth portfolio. Numbered.

Pamela Olson: "Circular Logic is based on a series of circulars housed in the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad archive at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Because the railroad was constantly growing geographically, its administration produced hundreds of circulars in an effort to keep workers and managers informed across great distances. These printed or handwritten circulars notified employees of changes in company policies, new equipment specifications, promotions, and terminations. Managers and supervisors routinely received lists that included names of discharged employees, alongside their position, reason for dismissal, and the command that 'they will not again be re-employed by this Company.'

"The text for this book is taken directly from the lists, with the exception of employee names, which have been altered. The size of the book recalls the small portrait booklets from the nineteenth century that were meant to be kept in a pocket or held with one hand. The name of one worker is printed on the verso of each spread, with their position printed on the recto. Once the foldout of the recto is opened, a silhouette portrait representing the worker is revealed, alongside the reason for his dismissal."

Support for this project provided by the College Book Art Association, University of Iowa Center for the Book, the Newberry Library, and Evanston Print and Paper.

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Rear Window
By Pamela Olson
Iowa City, Iowa: Particle Press, 2006. Edition of 20.

4.125 x 6.125"; 6 pages. Double-sided accordion. Text hand set using Gill Sans, Bank Gothic, and Alternate Gothic type. Printed on Somerset Satin. Linocuts by Pamela Olson.

Four views from Olson's apartment window are presented as a foldout postcard book. The postcard format on the verso describes the view: St. Volodymyr Cathedral; utility pole and tangled wires; brick buildings; rattling trees. Not quite the views from Hitchcock's "Rear Window" where people's lives dominate the photographer voyeur, but an graphic glimpse into quieter backyards.

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Page last update: 01.23.2024


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