Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Words are punny

John Wilkes Booth, 1987

I’ve seen only one Kay Rosen piece in a gallery, and I thought it was ho-hum; a drawing that read “swords” with the s written differently.

But, I am attracted to photographs of her wall texts and paintings. Partly because I get them - and that always makes me feel smart - and partly because I enjoy their graphic quality. They’re simple, at best deceivingly, at worst overly.

From what I gather, she’s playing with the contrast between reading and seeing. The work depends on the tension between what happens visually - by mirroring words, juggling letters, or repeating - and what the words represent when read.

If you wanted to get heady about it, you could just turn to Julie Kristeva. “[The work is] presyntactical and prelogical …[in] a verbal code dominated by the two axes of metaphor and metonymy.”

But, what I enjoy about it all is that it's immediately un-heady.

Hello Again, 2006

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