Book titles inspire new works on exhibit at the Athenaeum

Paintings by Gail Roberts and jewelry objects by Sondra Sherman that were inspired by books and their titles will be on view Sept. 25-Nov. 6 at The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla.

“Appellations” (a word defined by Merriam Webster as “an identifying name or title”) opens with an artists reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 24, which is open to the public.

The subjects in Roberts’ new series of paintings, according to press materials from the Athenaeum, are an extension of her “Accumulations” series, in which piles of found materials are depicted as memorials to the amassing of ordinary items.

The images reference patterans, a European word that refers to markings at crossroads used to trace a path back to a place. Patterans were often made of natural materials, such as handfuls of grass thrown on the ground or stones heaped in cairns. Seen within this context, the paintings of steep pyramid piles of books, many of which bear titles that are recognizable, are inadvertent trail markers of current time.

Roberts is the recipient of the 2010 San Diego Art Prize. She received her B.F.A. and M.A. at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and is an art professor at San Diego State University.

Sherman’s delicately crafted metalwork, from her series “Found Subjects,” uses literary references and wordplay to enhance the viewer’s perspective of expressive jewelry. Each piece responds to the title and binding of an old book that has then been altered to create a presentation box for the jewelry.

In this way, Sherman alludes to the artistic strategy of incorporating found objects under a title, by inverting the process, and instead interpreting a “found” title.

Sherman is a studio metalsmith and associate professor of art at San Diego State University. She received a diploma degree (equivalent to an M.F.A.) from the Munich Academy of Fine Art, Munich, Germany.


  • What:Exhibit ‘Appellations’
  • Where:The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St.
  • When:10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 25-Nov. 6
  • Public reception:6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 24
  • Contact:(858) 454-5872,

— Light Staff