Bay Park Press, Sibyl Rubottom shows off one of her illustrations from ‘The
Second Quarter,’ a book of poems by her son, Otis Rubottom, printed especially
for the opening of her show at La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.
Sibyl Rubottom was born a few blocks from the Hudson River in Manhattan, raised
next to an estuary of the Long Island Sound in Mamaroneck, and got her first
training in art at the Rhode Island School of Design, near Narragansett
of the major events in her life have been close to bodies of water — from the
Connecticut pond on which she was married to the Ganges River in Rishikesh where
she went to study yoga, and La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, a few
blocks from the Pacific Ocean, where she has been a teacher and
artist-in-residence since the early 1990s.
it’s not surprising that the main installation in her new show at the Athenaeum
should be a cenote, her above-ground version of one of the deep and deeply
strange, natural pools she swam in while exploring Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.
Inside the cenote, in the place of honor, is her latest artist’s book.
done three big books about water,” she said. “One about La Jolla Cove, one about
pool swimming, and now ‘Cenotes,’ which is being unveiled for the first time at
co-founder of Bay Park Press, a small press known for its beautifully-crafted
artists’ books, has another new book on display, her second collaboration with
her firstborn son, poet Otis Rubottom.
Second Quarter” is a quartet of poems about his wife and young son; also on view
is “The First Quarter,” which includes one poem dedicated to his father, and
another to his mother, who designed and illustrated both books.
were a lot of work, but he’s worth it,” she said. “I wouldn’t do it if he wasn’t
such a good poet.”
had her first Athenaeum show, titled “1×1 and then some,” 24 years ago. REDUX,
which means brought back or revived, brings back some of her favorite themes:
water, astronomy, botanicals, typography and … elephants! Why elephants? “I like
’em!” she said.
Book Arts Shrine at ‘SIBYL REDUX.’ Sibyl Rubottom
are 36 pieces in “SIBYL REDUX,” including prints that illustrate dream states
and collages that re-imagine Himalayan maps. The “Then Some” part of the show
includes iPad drawings — Rubottom loves her iPad — and a wholly delightful Book
Arts Shrine, her personalized, portable spin on the kinds of idiosyncratic
collections that were popular from the 16th through late-19th centuries and
known as “cabinets of curiosity.”
Rubottom wanted her own “cabinet” to carry samples of her books to her classes.
It turned into a repository of books and objects she loves, a box of treasures,
roughly 35"×14", that sits on a red wagon, with color wheels on its wheels.
“It’s a traveling workspace I can bring from village to village, as the Tibetans
do with prayer altars when on pilgrimages through the high Himalayas,” Rubottom
YOU GO: “SIBYL REDUX: Books, Prints, Collages, & Then Some” is on
view through July 26 at Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St. Hours
are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8:30
p.m. Wednesday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Also showing are selected books from
Bay Park Press and prints by Bay Park Press interns Leah Goren, Anthony Lukens
and Morgan Miller III. (858) 454-5872. ljathenaeum.org