The Written Image: Possession Obsession

Inspired by the idea that bookshelves offer a glimpse into their owner's personal life and interests, last year Australian artist Victoria Reichelt undertook a series of oil-on-canvas paintings based on photographs of random shelves and collections of books. Most of the books she chose to paint—like those in Possession Obsession above—are well worn and dog-eared, their tattered jackets reflecting their significance to the reader, but

Reichelt quickly recognized the inherent paradox of painting the exteriors of objects whose true purpose lies inside. "Once the books are an image on canvas they are shut forever and can never be read. In a painting they serve a very different purpose from their intended function—they are purely objects, like any others, that have histories and narratives of their own, quite separate from the text inside them." For a slideshow of Reichelt’s bookshelf paintings, click here.