Gail Skoff ~ California

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Artist statement: "Gail Skoff is a native Californian who has been photographing since her teens. Her early work included images from Bali, the American Southwest and Hawaii. These were black and white photographs which were hand-colored with oil paints. This mix of photography and painting was a technique she used for almost 30 years."

Chimneys of Burano
By Gail Skoff
Berkeley, California: Gail Skoff, 2010. Edition of 7.

11 x 15"; 18 pages including pastedowns. Double-sided accordion book. Images printed on Moab Entrada Rag Natural paper by The Lightroom. Text letterpress printed by Patricia Curtan. Bound by John DeMerritt. Bookbinding paper over boards with tipped on chimney images. Housed in clamshell box with titles stamped in gilt on spine and cover. Boards and box covered in handmade paper by Cave Papers.

Gail Skoff: "I consider this book a circle book, because as you start reading and looking at the images you can turn it over and continue the viewing on the reverse side, and end up at the title page again.

"I first visited the island of Burano in 2007. I was coming from Murano and was en route to Torcello, islands in the Venetian lagoon, where I had been photographing mosaics in ancient churches. I stepped off the vaporetto on a whim and fell in love with the vibrant colors of the village, which were unlike anything I had seen in the area. The brightly painted houses were a complete contrast to the tiny mosaic patterns I had been photographing and looked like children's building blocks in bold bright colors. I grew fascinated by the time-weathered buildings, and by the chimney's sculptural forms. They showed their colors vividly, uninterrupted by windows and doorways.

"Local legend has it that Burano's fishermen chose to paint their homes contrasting colors so they would be able to recognize them from the sea."

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By Gail Skoff
Berkeley, California: Gail Skoff, 2009. Edition of 7 + 2 Artist's Proofs.

11.75 x 11.75" closed; 13 pages. Double-sided accordion. Archival pigment printing on Moab Entrada Rag Natural paper by The Lightroom. Letterpress printing by Peter Koch. Bookbinding by Pettingell Book Bindery. Handmade cover paper by Cave Papers. Title embossed on front board. Housed in a matching paper covered clamshell box.

Gail Skoff: "Fragments is a handmade book presented in its own clam shell box. It contains twelve archival pigment photographs from Pompeii, Oplantis, and the Villa San Marco, which are located in the Campania region of Italy. An ancient floor frieze runs down the back of the book.

"Maybe 15 years previous to making Fragments I had occasion to visit Pompeii and took many pictures. A decade later, immersed in a project photographing the colors on walls in the south of France where I live half of every year, I rediscovered these photos. That began a three-year long odyssey visiting the ruins in southern Italy, where I knew I had to go after rediscovering those snapshots. The colors in these ruins were so beautiful, some faded and others still intense. The forms, when photographed close-up appeared ancient and modern simultaneously, invoking an intense emotional response for me."

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Page last update: 07.06.15

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