By John T. Hill
312 pages, hardcover, $65
Published by powerHouse Books
The creative vision of Norman Ives is astonishing in its own right, but perhaps it is especially so given the constraints of his technologies. Understanding that Ives conceived his art long before Adobe Creative Suite was born—and that he produced it all with paper, gouache, scissors and other raw ingredients—prompts what can only be called a sense of awe. From paintings to dizzyingly abstracted collages, bas-reliefs, sculptures, brand identities and murals, Norman Ives: Constructions & Reconstructions presents the highly diverse productions of an artist-designer far ahead of his time.
Tracing Ives’s career and major design influences, the text features essays by numerous voices closely familiar with Ives’s perspectives and work, including writing from Josef Albers, with whom Norman Ives collaborated, and Norman Ives himself. With chapters organized by media forms, the book serves as an excellent source for visual inspiration as well as a thorough reference that will reward close study—both of the images and the accompanying notes. The precision, detail, complexity and playful inventiveness of Ives’s work are shown through dozens of color reproductions. This book is a treat for typography addicts, collage artists, art and design historians, and fans of Cubist and abstract art. As Steven Heller writes in the foreword, the work shown in this book seems “that it should have been published already.” If the history of graphic design resembled one of Ives’s collages, this monograph would be an essential piece that has been too long absent from the tapestry. —Maya P. Lim