My experiences as an expressive arts therapist have left me with a passion for abstract expressionism, freely and intuitively created works on paper, canvas, or panel using either acrylics or oils with cold wax medium and a variety of marking tools. These works are typically organic in nature and speak through my senses rather than my intellect. I enjoy allowing the painting to speak to me and direct its own path toward completion.
In contrast to my interest in abstract expressionism, the computer scientist in me enjoys the technical precision required of book binding: the necessary precision of cutting and assembling a book’s text blocks, endpapers, cover boards, the intricate stitching patterns, and the creation of book boxes. I find the process of stitching a text block meditative. My interest in book arts has taken me on several related, but distinctly different journeys including book binding, artist books (books with distinctly different structural forms and content), box making, and collage with deconstructed books. I have experimented with many structural book forms and binding techniques. Artist books lend a creative spin to this technical work with content – explicit or implied – providing a narrative through material, image and/or text.
Book deconstruction requires something very different from me — the ability to release an existing book from being precious in its original form. Deconstructed books provide a wealth of materials, e.g., text pages, binding elements, endpapers, cover cloths, etc., for use in mixed media collage. I still sometimes cringe when pulling a text block from its cover and spine. In contrast to the newly constructed books described above, this work gives new life to books that have been “sent out to pasture.” I enjoy working with these elements and allowing them to speak and direct their arrangement in meaningful, playful, and/or provocative ways.
Carole McNamee has pursued painting and creative endeavors her entire life, always seeking to juggle professional and personal imperatives with her drive to make art. Following a first career as a professor of computer science in California, she retrained as a family therapist with a specialization in the use of the expressive arts in Blacksburg, Virginia. Retiring from her second career in 2015, she moved to New England and now devotes much of her time to painting, collage, and book arts. She has exhibited in group and solo shows in Virginia, Massachusetts, and Vermont and has lead workshops nationally in the therapeutic uses of the expressive arts. When not in the studio, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and on the tennis court.