Work of Kenneth Schnall Bookartist Virtual Gallery

Home Address

1 Alaco Lane
Milford, New Jersey  08848

New York Studio

91 Franklin Street
New York City, New York  10013
(212) 941-7457


I use the book form as a structural platform in which to develop visual ideas. My books and the process of their construction expand and suggest new possibilities for form and content in my art. My books are nonlinear. They may be experienced without words as kinetic, visual, tactile, and even auditory experiences. The idea, that inside a book’s covers there floats a hidden message bound up with an intense energy ready to spring forth, is of particular interest.

At this end of the 20th century, I view the unique book form as an object pregnant with cultural impulses that are imbedded deep in our genes. This type of hand crafted art object is, for me, a last link with a fading past. The process of book construction is a rich journey for me from the past to the future.

I am drawn in my work toward thematic ideas in which gestural figures move freely, but under certain tensions toward a spiritual revelation. Dynamism is also the key to my imagery which often involves the figure in a confined space but in motion or on the verge of movement. This imagery, plus the way in which surface colors are applied, links up with the content of my work.

The content of my books is about a very simple almost primal question - "What is the driving force or the passion behind the imagery?" This question goes beyond what can be seen and relate to spirituality, transcendence, and a journey that may be intensely personal yet universal at the same time. It is an inner world which does not stay static long enough to ever be what it first appear to be.

Orpheo Book

Orpheo Book is a non verbal, non linear interpretation of the classical Orpheus and Eurydice legend.

It was visually encouraged by the music and libretto of the 18th century German composer, Christopher Willibard Gluck. Sweeps and swirls of color testify visually to the unfolding of this ancient story. The deep sensuality expressed in this legend is enhanced in the book by its physical character. A complex dramatic pacing can be experienced by turning and touching the textural quality of the page surfaces. In this large post bound book, pages are layered with schards of gesso, washes of ink, and pumice. Central fold out pages open the book to a width of 94 inches. The paper is both rag and hand stained Japanese sheets.

orpheo-1.jpg (15942 bytes)

1.) Orpheo Book
pages 8-9
28"H x 44"W (open)
gesso shards/ink wash/flasche/metallic paints/rag paper

orpheo-2.jpg (16831 bytes)

2.) Orpheo Book
pages 13-14
28" x 44" (open)
ink/flasche/schards/metallic inks/pumice


Lucia (light), reveals itself here in its changing surfaces

In this experimental form, the book becomes an object to be observed and handled. Fixed to a wall surface, this type of book is a manipulative experience for the observer as it opens up broad visual possibilities for the artist. Here the book is a painted surface that crosses a line between art forms.

lucia.jpg (12362 bytes)

3.) Lucia, (Wall Book)
page 1
15"H x 33 1/2"W (open)
flasche/ink/wash/model paste/paper/canvas

Prices on request

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Last modified 7 April, 2000