As someone who didn't attend Ohio State, I'm only vaguely familiar with the Thompson Library. So, regrettably, I didn't know there was a gallery inside the massive structure. When I finally made my way through the pathways of the Oval, I found quite an impressive exhibit inside with "Rough Edges: Women Artists and the Collegiate Press."

As someone who didn’t attend Ohio State, I’m only vaguely familiar with the Thompson Library. So, regrettably, I didn’t know there was a gallery inside the massive structure. When I finally made my way through the pathways of the Oval, I found quite an impressive exhibit inside with “Rough Edges: Women Artists and the Collegiate Press.”

“Rough Edges” is a collection of art books and printed materials from historical and contemporary artists — many of whom are OSU alumni. The works are culled from the Fine Arts Library and the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library, while also highlighting Logan Elm Press, a local company printing the creative endeavors of the Buckeye community.

Simply put, “Rough Edges” is downright impressive.

The works in the exhibit are smart, powerful, thought-provoking, complex and even confrontational at times. “Rough Edges” contains a breadth of approaches to a wealth of ideas and statements. It’s completely appropriate the largest piece, by OSU professor Rebecca Harvey (a portion of which is pictured), contains the words, “any number of things.”

See, any number of things can be taken away from this exhibit. Besides the absolutely inspired aesthetic of the work — everything from pages containing bleeding ears and wistful musings to handkerchiefs printed with some of George W. Bush’s more infamous quotes — there’s a resolution within the collection.

These women artists have powerful thoughts, emotions and proclamations embodied in these magnificent transformations of the book and printed media. Saying these works “redefine” the book as art doesn’t quite do them justice.

And one of the most pleasing aspects of the exhibit is the information. A number of banners offer explanations on why women artists were (wisely) chosen, the objective of a collegiate press and the medium of the art book. The artists’ statements are well-intentioned and intelligent. And the video component offers a respective look at some of these artists and their practices.

I can’t fully encapsulate how wonderful the art, words and sentiments are in “Rough Edges” with this column. See it for yourself.

The visuals alone are captivating. The ideas within them are even more fascinating.

[photo credit: Jesse Tigges]