Revealing the delicacy of objects

Books were always a big part of Jennifer Brandon’s life. When she was a child she catalogued her many volumes and set up a check-out system for members of her family.

“Much of my childhood was spent trolling used bookstores with my mother,” the San Francisco-based artist explains.

So it seems fitting that Brandon was invited to exhibit pieces from her “Spines” series, archival inkjet prints that examine wear and decay of beloved books and in a broader sense, a life lived, in the group show “Bookish” opening with a Tuesday evening reception at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery in The City.

“Every time a book is picked up, it’s physically affected by the reader,” Brandon says. “The spine bends, the pages tear, fold and are stained. The book as an object becomes a record of the physical relationship with the reader.

“I began photographing them to record that physical wear and highlight that relationship. The sterile background and isolated edges of the book concentrate the viewer’s attention, and the only narrative that is alluded to is that relationship as it plays out on the surface of the object.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in the mid-1990s, Brandon became disenchanted with her desk job, so she returned to school and earned master’s degrees in painting and photography.

In her first projects, she says, “I painted from my own family snapshots and included excerpts from my personal memoirs to call attention to the chasm between the photograph as an object and a lived experience.”

Brandon continues to examine the delicacy of objects and how their fragility is emblematic of our own.

In the series “Falling Apart,” Brandon’s book spines are nearly unrecognizable. Their splintered textures, caked together with crumbling glue, enable to viewer to see books’ organic nature and also their transience as objects encapsulating ideas and even memories.

In another series of photographs titled “Mending,” Brandon reveals the beauty and power of tiny pins and cushions, which, viewed so closely, take on an otherworldly quality. Yet their promise of repair and renewed stability also are comforting.

“I always have been drawn to and surrounded by decayed and fragile objects. Be it at the small flea market my uncle ran or my family’s cabin, built by my great-grandfather,” she says. “Not only do we repair the things around us, but we do this with ourselves, too. It’s such a nice metaphor for a life experience that includes both emotional and physical growth, disrepair and repair.”

IF YOU GO

Bookish

Where: Adobe Books, 3166 16 St., San Francisco
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday for opening reception; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; closes Oct. 25
Contact: (415) 864-3936, adobebooksbackroomgallery.blogspot.com

artsbookishentertainmentjennifer brandonOther Arts

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read