Not by the book is full of celebration | Greenwich Sentry


By Emma Barhydt

Just yesterday, the Flinn Gallery at the Greenwich Library opened its new exhibition, Not By The Book.

Not By The Book is the Flinn Gallery’s first exhibition of the 2021-2022 season, highlighting the work of four imaginative artists. Shiela Hale built with books inspired by nature; Chris Perry considers books to be sculptural objects; Andrew Sovjani pushes the boundaries of book content or physical nature using photography and engineering to create works that push the boundaries of nature; and Erin Walrath transforms recycled books to alter original printed messages into new visually expansive contexts.

All of them rely on different aspects of books as the basis of their art. The mundane parts of the books contribute to the expressions of the artists apart from the words provided by the original authors.

Leslee Asch and Kira Albinsky have organized another interesting and stimulating selection for the Flinn Gallery at the Greenwich Library. Not By The Book is a whimsical take on books, exploring what they really are, how beautiful they are, and what books actually mean to people. The exhibition also looks at the materiality of books, mixing them with other objects and using them as props.

This exhibit also signals the cheerful reopening of the Flinn Gallery to guests after COVID-19 and the library renovation. It is also the return of three-dimensional works of art in space after several two-dimensional exhibitions.

Not By The Book is truly a celebration of books, an appropriate exhibit given the location of the gallery. The four artists push the limits of our imaginations by making us look at books in a vivid new way. This is the perfect subject for the reopening of the Flinn Gallery – Not By The Book is not an exhibition you will want to miss.

The exhibition will run until December 8, 2021. The Flinn Gallery is located on the second floor of the Greenwich Library, 101 West Putnam Avenue. The opening hours of the gallery are Monday to Saturday 10 am-5am, Thursday 10 am-8am, Sunday 1-5 am. For more information visit:

Gallery events:
Sunday October 24, 2:00 p.m. – Artist Talk with Erin Walrath and Andrew Sovjani
Sunday, November 14, 2:00 p.m. – Artist Talk with Shiela Hale and Chris Perry

Related Books from the Greenwich Library Collection:
Art Made From Books: Altered, Sculpted, Sculpted, Transformed by Laura Heyenga, 2013

500 Handmade Books, Volume 1: Inspirational Interpretations of a Timeless Form, by Suzanne JE Tourtillott, 2008

Folded Book Art: 35 Beautiful Projects to Transform Your Books, Make Cards, Display Scenes, Decorations, Gifts & More by Clare Youngs, 2019

The Art of Folding: How to Create Innovative Books and Paper Structures by Heidi Kyle, 2018

Re-bound: Creation of handmade books from recycled and reused materials by Jeannine Stein, Jeannine, 2009

Shiela Hale is a self-proclaimed “book lover”. Attracted by their form and content, she makes books, modifies books and builds with books. The natural world and contemporary issues also inspire him. A sense of urgency drives her work now, communicating her concerns about the use and misuse of language, inaccessibility of knowledge and other pressing issues of today.

Chris Perry’s designs for a planned art book led him to study bookbinding, and soon the painter became a book artist. Perry’s art explores the properties of water through constructed and modified books that sit on plinths, hang from walls, and hang from the ceiling. A resident of Ridgefield, CT, Perry is an active member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists and currently leads its online initiatives as a gallery coordinator.

Andrew Sovjani merges his artistic lineage and engineering background with his experiences living in Asia to create transcendent works that blur the lines between painting, printmaking and photography. In his images of this exhibition, he draws on the physicality of books and questions the transformation of reading into a monosensory experience with the rise of digital media.

Erin Walrath is an assemblage and collage artist living in Roxbury, CT, with a studio in Danbury, CT. Color and texture are central to Walrath’s practice. They are his main objective in the selection, deconstruction and reassembly of book covers. As she explains, the goal of her book constructions is “to create a new context where these visual elements, now freed from the burden of words, can convey new meaning”.


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