On Display: Diverse Characters: An Exhibition of Letterforms and Books by Russell Maret
NEW YORK, September 23, 2014 –

Columbia University Libraries/Information ServicesRare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the exhibition:  Diverse Characters: An Exhibition of Letterforms and Books by Russell Maret.  The exhibition runs through January 23rd, 2015 in the Chang Octagon Exhibition Cases in RBML. 


Russell Maret , artist, printer and typographer, was introduced to letterpress printing in 1989. His first fully mature book came in 2007, Prometheus Bound, followed by Mediævel in Padua, his first book in his own type.  His many type designs result from his long study of the letterforms of the last 2,000 years. Some of that study has taken place at the RBML, where Maret has been inspired by handwriting manuals, type specimens, and early printed books.

“Although his path has been extremely personal, the resulting books appeal generally, first with their tactility and then with text and image,” said Jane Siegel, Rare Book Librarian.  “As with all good artists books, reading them is both mental and physical exercise, in which typography, structure and the pacing of the pages contribute along with the text proper to the meaning and experience of the book.”

Central to Maret’s vision are the letterforms he creates to express a specific idea or text. The late twentieth-century development of digital font design has allowed him to make his own typefaces and then, using a photo-polymer plate, to print his letters and images in relief by letterpress. In the course of making his specimen book, Maret also worked with the Dale Guild Type Foundry to cast two fonts in metal, marrying Maret’s computer-based drawings and the foundry’s nineteenth century equipment.

Major works that appear in the exhibition include: Prometheus Bound (2007), Maret’s first completely conceived book; Æthelwold Etc. (2009), 26 “portraits of letters;” Specimens of Diverse Characters (2011), a larger showing of full alphabets; and most recently Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube (2014), which regards Geometry through both logical and emotional lenses, andthe brand-new bibliography, Pressed for Time, which marks his 25th year of printing.

For hours and more information, please visit the RBML website.  

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

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