“Visualizing Literature” Exhibition Brings Books to Life

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Students enrolled in the studio arts class Visualizing Literature had their works displayed this past winter in William H. Hannon Library, for a four-month exhibition entitled “Tour of California.” Visualizing Literature is a visual arts course framed around a series of interconnected works of literature, and each semester the texts change in collaboration with the LMU Department of Archives and Special Collections. Students are asked to creatively interpret and reimagine the covers of select novels revolving around a theme, and the resulting art was on display for four months.

This year, students read sections of literary works representing the scenery of California, including The Mountains of California by John Muir, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch by Henry Miller, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. The course also began with a guest lecture from a member of the San Gabrielino/Tongva Tribe, giving students an opportunity to learn first-hand about the land on which the LMU campus is built and the tribe’s important place in California history.

Students designed book illustrations as well as posters to capture their artistic representations of this year’s texts. Students from the class were free to use digital as well as hand-made art styles to complete their projects; the books and posters on display highlight the variety in artistic styles that characterizes LMU’s eclectic art program, as well as the myriad ways that literature can be interpreted.

Photos by Jason Muñoz.