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Artist's work added to Rare Book Collection at Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Friday, August 29, 2014

Artist's work added to Rare Book Collection at Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Associate Professor Timothy Frerichs

“Shale,” an artist book by Associate Professor Timothy Frerichs of the Department of Visual Arts and New Media, has been added to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library's Central Library Rare Book Collection. Frerichs is also set to exhibit a site-specific installation at the Central Library in September.

Frerichs created a unique book that literally takes the form of shale, incorporating handmade paper and archival digital prints from the book, “De Re Metallica,” by Georgius Agricola. Published in 1556, Agricola’s book was an influential text on mining that remained relevant well into the 1600s.

Pages of Frerichs’ book have the shape of the Marcellus Shale, a sedimentary rock formation in the Appalachian Basin, cut through them. Marcellus Shale is known as a largely untapped natural gas source.

 The artist book, "Shale."

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library utilizes a variety of factors – such as scarcity and unique previous ownership – to determine whether a book can be classified as rare. Other criteria include utilization of a special binding process and a distinctive format, both of which Frerichs employed in creating his book. “Shale” is bound Coptic-style, in which the pages are sewn through and attached by links horizontally across the book’s spine.

Frerichs’ involvement with Agricola’s “De Re Metallica” spills over into the site-specific installation he will be exhibiting at the library during the Echo Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7. His installation will incorporate President Herbert Hoover’s English translation of, “De Re Metallica,” which is also a part of the library’s Rare Book Collection. President Hoover translated the book with his wife in the early 1900s when they were heavily involved in mining and geology.

The Echo Art Fair is going into its fourth year as a Buffalo exposition showcasing the work of local, regional and international artists. Site-specific installations, like that of Frerichs, are big attractions at the fair, as they are designed to engage with their surroundings through music, architecture or design.

Additional information about the Buffalo & Erie Public Library's Rare Book Collection, as well as the Echo Art Fair, can be found at

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