The Written Image: Cara Barer

From the May/June 2019 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

In the Information Age we might find our homes crowded with reference books we no longer use—a phone book, a set of encyclopedias, a long-outdated computer manual. Rather than throwing away such books, Houston artist Cara Barer has transformed them into a new form of art. Since the early 2000s, Barer has been turning books into sculptures, creating intricate radial patterns from their pages and spines that she then dyes and photographs. “Books, physical objects and repositories of information, are being displaced by zeros and ones in a digital universe with no physicality,” writes Barer on her website ( “Through my art, I document this and raise questions about the fragile and ephemeral nature of books and their future.” The project is ongoing, and Barer, who has shown her work in galleries and museums across the United States, will open a new exhibit in June at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco.