Hortus Conclusus

30 hand printed, hand bound copies, bilingual (PT- ENG)

Finalist at the Oficina do Cego first Prize for independent Publishing projects.
Presented at several art-book exhibitions in the United States and Portugal.

Hortus Conclusus is a collaborative artist book project by artist Leslie Smith and Portuguese author Patricía Portela. While working together on a translation project the two planned an artist book. They chose fragments from Patricía’s novel, and arranged them into a bilingual prose poem. They set the text and mingled their sketchbook drawings to create imagery. The book is a wandering through a strange garden. The narrator advances with trepidation asking,

“If words were a physical substance… recorded in the mouth like the rings of a saliva tree. Would we be able to know what is left unsaid?”

The answer is a scene of dense overgrowth that the narrator and reader enter, discovering for themselves what is left unsaid. The text is printed from hand-set Joanna & Gill Sans types. Images were printed from linoleum blocks, hand-processed photopolymer plates and flexible printing plates. The papers are Zerkall Book and Canson. The book is bound in a Japanese Multisection binding.

About Leslie Smith:resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Leslie Smith makes drawings, prints, and books based on her interest in early modern natural philosophy and translation. She holds an MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Centre for the Book, and master’s degree in Library Science. Her interest in language and translation has lead to collaborative work with Portuguese author Patricía Portela. She is currently living in North Carolina and working on a project, exploring early modern ideas about wonder and curiosity.

2017 Text & Image, Site: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY, USA
2017 Under Pressure: Printmaking Variations, Sawtooth Center for Visual Art, Winston Salem, NC
2016 In, On, Of Paper, Paper Circle Center for Paper and Book Arts, Nelsonville, OH
2016 Words/Matter: A Library for Artist’s Books, Chicago, IL
2016 Printed Page II, Abcedarian Gallery, Denver, CO
2014 Re.al. Collective exhibition of First Independent Book Prize, Lisbon, Portugal