Photo: Jo Howe in St Albans, East

Jo Howe


Reading is an act of co-authorship. When you pick up a book and read it, what you bring to that process is your own personal history. This is a filter through which we perceive language and by which we forge connections. My use of the book as sculptural object playfully reworks its formal components allowing the 'reader' to experience something altogether new. I obstruct the original narrative in order to afford the reader of the artwork minimal linguistic stimulus. In essence this simplifies, clarifies and quietens interaction so that the reader's response can be heard. Working with old manuscripts bearing the physical imperfections and aromas of past human handling and thus retain their human presence is essential. The aesthetic quality of text and relevance of the book's title is also important. The book or page becomes a tool for looking inwards to our evolving personal narratives rather than the read contents of the book as text. I consciously work with the text to render it difficult to read, if not at times almost absent. The fragmentation, removal and disruption of text transform words into visual clues. By resisting meaning in purely linguistic terms the reader is invited to respond at an intuitive and emotional level. In physically exploring text, removal of text, the page, book and restructured cover I seek to construct alternative narratives, which in turn generate new meaning. Transaction and interaction contain the echoes of previous experience. This inevitably interferes with the reception of the other person's voice and intention so that we hear through our own history. My works explore a frustration in communication. I seek to express the difficulty of speaking without being heard, to listen either actively or ineffectively. My books and their pages become a tangible expression of those sentences suppressed or left unsaid. read full statement

Location St Albans, East
Artforms / type of project Book Works, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Text
Tags Sculpture, Artist Books, Book Arts, Mixed Media, Text, Book sculpture, Paper, Upcycling, Recycling

News & Events

  • Paper Scissors Stone - Taking paper beyond the page

    06/11/2015 – 11/12/2015
    The Lewis Gallery, The Rugby School

    An imaginative and thought-provoking body of work of five Hertfordshire artists based around the re-shaping of paper, narrative and meaning.

    Find out more

  • Nothingness

    07/08/2014 – 14/09/2014
    Parndon Mill Gallery, Harlow

    ‘Nothingness’ includes the work of five artists with links to Digswell Arts: Hideki Arichi, Ella Carty, Jo Howe, Alex McIntyre and William White.

    Find out more