The Artistry Behind Pop-Up Books Opens at RIT’s Bevier Gallery, Oct. 19

Interactive exhibition provides a fascinating look at movable picture books

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“Pop-up books captivate and excite the child in all of us.

I love the fact that the images don’t lie flat; they literally jump off the page.”

—Bill Finewood, associate professor, RIT’s School of Art

The creators of pop-up books literally like to play with paper—designing and folding die-cut geometric strips together into working “mechanicals” that sometimes resemble airplane hangers. That’s where the real magic begins, because these jack-in-the-box-like designs between the pages of books highlight everything from three-dimensional dinosaurs, medieval knights, Cinderella, a haunted house and a space shuttle, to more ambiguous themes like nightmares, phobias and celebrity meltdowns.

“The process is very much like a miniature engineering project,” says Bill Finewood, associate professor in the School of Art at Rochester Institute of Technology. “Pop-ups come to life through movement and don't lock the viewer into a single moment frozen in time.”

RIT’s Bevier Gallery presents Pop-Up Books: An Interactive Exhibition, during an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19. The show runs through Nov. 14 and features works from top artists in the field including Chuck Fischer (The White House), David A. Carter (Bugs in Space) and Kyle Olmon (Castle).

“Pop-up books increase the readers imagination by tempting them to look at all sides of the mechanical as they search out all the narrative elements used to tell the story,” Finewood says.

“What’s amazing is that each and every book is hand assembled, requiring the skilled labor of hundreds of people to manufacture them,” he explains.

“As we look at a pop-up book, it causes us to wonder, how did they do that? So this exhibition will focus on the behind-the-scenes skills employed by the artists and paper engineers who spend the better part of a year blending creativity and technical methodologies to inform, captivate and excite the child in all of us.”

Bevier Gallery is handicapped-accessible and is located in the James E. Booth Building on RIT’s Henrietta campus. Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday; 7 to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 1 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday; and 2 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday. All exhibits are free. For more information, call the Bevier Gallery at (585) 475-2646.

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