Unfurl Unfold | Aimée Beaubien

Unfurl Unfold: the touch of a leaf, the page in a book felt
Artist Book
2021
Edition of 25
Produced through the 2021 Editions Program

spoke the vine
grasping for words
arm-in-arm-in-arm
image-text-design

by Aimée Beaubien

Through the tactile pages of Unfurl Unfold: the touch of a leaf, the page in a book felt, Aimée Beaubien visualizes her longstanding draw to books and vines. Mesmerized by vines and their steadfast embrace of all that they encounter, Beaubien has created an artist book in which the reading experience mimics the movements of a growing vine. Gatefolds allow the reader to expand the dimensions of the book while the turning of pages reveal inclusions that feature plant-inspired poetry and clues to the many horticulture-related books visually referenced throughout the book. Imagery in this book include cut-up and woven photographs of plant matter, still lifes featuring books from the Beaubien’s personal library, and documentation of her immersive art installations.

Through combining screenprinting and inkjet printing, the artist was liberated from the expectations of conventional photography. Beaubien dissected her compositions, at times literally peeling layers of a photograph into distinct color fields, and at times rebuilding new fantastical compositions and color palettes. Many textures appear visually in the photographs (architectural elements, plant matter, books, lace, embroidery, etc), and the combination of print methods heightens the sensation of touching the pages. The use of Tyvek paper, inclusions from vintage books, and a woven paracord binding further pushes the tactile playfulness of Unfurl Unfold.

This visceral book has been assembled for aesthetic pleasure as well as to reflect on how gardens and libraries portray time, and examine how plant life, be it immaculately tended or untamed growth, is integrated into all aspects of life.

Book Details:

– 10″ x 23″ artist book that open to up to 10″ x 46″
– Hand-sewn French link stitch binding with paracord that grows into a woven element mimicking interlocking vine structures
– Includes 32 images combining inkjet and screenprint on Tyvek
– Comprised of six folios including two 6-page gatefold concertinas and one 8-page parallel map fold
– The book with its many inserts is housed inside of a 12″ x 18″ inkjet printed and sewn Tyvek enclosure

Image-Text-Design by Aimée Beaubien. Printed in collaboration with Angee Lennard at Spudnik Press Cooperative in Chicago, IL.

Inserts Include:

– Screenprint on a unique illustrated spread from a vintage garden book*
– Ink and artist tape on index from a vintage garden book*
– Four double-sided screenprints pressed between pages
– Patterned protective glassine interleaving
– Colophon with image descriptions flowing across a facsimile of Emily Dickinson’s herbarium.

*screen print on select spreads from Garden Flowers in Color: A Picture Cyclopedia of Flowers by G.A. Stevens, 1939 (“a most unusual Garden book and one that is made possible only by an extremely happy combination of circumstances.”)


Aimée Beaubien is an artist living and working in Chicago. Beaubien reorganizes photographic experience while exploring networks of meaning and association between the real and the ideal in cut-up collages, artists’ books and immersive installations. A photographed plant, interlaced vine, woven topography merge into fields of color and pattern and back again expanding the ever more complicated sensations of reading a photograph and experiencing nature. Beaubien’s work has been included in national and international exhibitions including Demo Projects, Springfield, IL; Gallery UNO Projektraum, Berlin, Germany; Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX; Marvelli Gallery, New York, NY; The Pitch Project, Milwaukee, WI; Virus Art Gallery, Rome, Italy. Her work is held in the permanent collections of Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Aimée Beaubien is an Associate Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL where she has taught since 1997.

This project is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.