Shift-lab: Ten Years of Collaboration

Shift-lab: Ten Years of Collaboration

MCBA hosts an exhibition and event series celebrating 10 years of the Shift-lab

Shift-lab is Katie Baldwin, Denise Bookwalter, Sarah Bryant, Macy Chadwick and Tricia Treacy. This collective of five women artists, working across the United States, has produced print and book-based projects for more than a decade.

Since 2013, Shift-lab has cultivated a collaborative practice through writing, curating, and making print- and book-based projects. 

Historically rooted in collaboration, artist’s books bring together the skills of artist, writer, printer, and binder. Shift-lab expands on the collaborative nature of the book, investigating shifts in the digital and analog experiences of reading. The work is interdisciplinary and seeks to find the intersections among language, sequence, structure, and narrative. 

This exhibition will feature ten years of artwork by Shift-lab, shown for the first time together—  including four significant artists’ books, individual work, and a selection of prints and zines.

Hear from all five collective members in a virtual artist panel on Thursday, February 29, 6–7:15pm CT. Additionally, join Katie, Denise, Sarah, and Macy for an in-person workshop, Postcard Pocket Notebook: Collaboration and Exchange on Saturday, March 9, 9am–5pm CT.


Shift-lab is a collective of five artists who expand their studio practices to collaborate on artists’ books and multiples. Shift-lab is Katie Baldwin (Huntsville, AL); Denise Bookwalter (Tallahassee, FL); Sarah Bryant (Tuscaloosa, AL); Macy Chadwick (Petaluma, CA); and Tricia Treacy (Lebanon, NH).

They have exhibited their work at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (Two Rivers, WI), Seager Gray Gallery (Mill Valley, CA) and San Francisco Center for the Book (San Francisco, CA). They have presented their creative research at the Philadelphia Art Book Fair and have participated in the Codex Book Fair since 2015. Their work is included in numerous collections, including: Dartmouth College Special Collections, Rhode Island School of Design Special Collections, Yale University Art of the Book Collection, Jack Ginsberg Book Arts Collection, and Mary Austin Book Arts Collection. 

Since its founding in 2013, this collective has produced three major artists’ book projects as well as a number of smaller projects and printing events. Its most recent project, REF (2019), investigates the transition from traditional reference texts in dedicated physical spaces toward the use of algorithmic relevance and keyword searches. Working together, members of the collective created fifteen responses to traditional reference texts using dates related to this transition as an organizational principle. The development of the project took place online, through contemporary technology such as Skype and Google docs, as well as in person in several locations and libraries across the United States. 

These women members work from across the US to expand dialogue through exhibitions and projects that investigate narrative, communication, and the book. Shift-lab continues to study the shift in contemporary perspectives relating to studio practice, collaboration, and both digital & analogue experiences. 

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