Dinner And A Rose by Sarah Bodman and Nancy Campbell

Artist Sarah Bodman and poet Nancy Campbell collaborated on the artists’ book Dinner And A Rose. This was inspired by shared thoughts about deceptive appearances, unweaving seemingly sweet and feminine stereotypes, especially with psychological overtones of irony and black humour. Crime writer Patricia Highsmith, for example, stands as an influence for this pair. The dinner in question was conceived as a menu, of sorts, served to twelve guests by Bodman and Campbell, and featuring all the food and drink mentioned in Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. Served over a day, this epic meal transformed the nature of eating into a conscious performance, rather as Ripley himself was always depicted as a self-conscious character, a re-enactment. This work of art is a reflection, a debate, a video , and an indulgence of the senses, all in honour of the ‘missing’ guest, Tom Ripley. Campbell’s poetic text skirts in and out of the levels of consciousness in this artists’ book (similar to the effects in Clark’s film), as voices and fragments of the daylong feast, and echoes of conversations between characters from the novel seemingly drift about the room. The rose is beautiful, but has thorns.

Sarah Bodman is Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the CFPR, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK and prolific book artist herself. She curated an exhibition of 112 artists’ books that incorporate nature, Arcadia id est, launched in 2005 at TRACE gallery, Dorset before touring Europe, Australia and the USA. Sarah has also written Creating Artists’ Books on contemporary artist's book production (A&C Black, 2005).

Nancy Campbell is a poet who read English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and apprenticed in letterpress printing and bookbinding at Barbarian Press in British Columbia, Canada. She worked at The Center for Book Arts in New York and this past year was writer-in-residence at Upernavik Museum, Greenland. Her latest book, The Night Hunter (forthcoming from Z’Roah Press, New York, in 2011) relates her experiences during the Arctic winter.