Black Baskerville

Black Baskerville Steven McCarthy United States, 2001

Black Baskerville
Steven McCarthy
United States, 2001

Black Baskerville tells two parallel stories of place and circumstance – about John Baskerville the renowned 18th century printer and typographer of Birmingham, England, and about the Baskerville family that descended from African slaves on a Mecklenburg County, Virginia plantation. While both stories are factual, their correspondence on the page posits questions about relationships, identities and ideologies –this interstitial space can be thought of as a design fiction.

The idea of being conjoined – by polarity (black/white, free/ captive, etc.) and degree (privileged/impoverished, fact/fiction, and so on) – is expressed through the use of bigrams, which are letter pairs joined by frequent usage. (The most common bigram in English is th, followed by he, in, and er.)

Based on a font of Baskerville Bold Italic, the bigrams’ vector outlines were machined into end-grain maple blocks and are letterpress-printed throughout Black Baskerville. They spell words related to the book’s themes of emancipation and humanism.

Letterpress, Arches paper, inkjet


About sense of place in artist books

I am an artist. I find the ephemeral place in my art conjured up through practice. I sift through raw materials with my hopes and dreams, and ideas take form as if intended.
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