Monday, February 16, 2009

Art and text

I recently found myself zeroing in on art with words in it. There was the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery exhibition called Rich Text, photographed beautifully by Roberta Fallon. The works, including a collage of snaking E's snaking, brightly colored sculptures made of words and neon light art with text, captured my attention.

Then there was the "pocket cloud" piece by Audra Wolowiec at the Fine Art Adoption Network. It is flat, square object, five inches by five inches colored psychedelic cerulean blue embossed with the words: pocket cloud. It also has a silver lining. The artist says the user should scrunch the thing into a pocket. How pleasant to be carried aloft by a pocket cloud when feeling earth bound.

Even at the Antiques Show at the Armory in Manhattan in late January, I became fascinated by illuminated manuscripts at one stall , called Les Enluminures. I had done some study of these kinds of pages in art history, but seeing the tiny, hand-inked letters and miniature paintings in hand-sized, handwoven books made me realize how much respect these prayer books warrant. In the digital age, experiencing so much virtually, one sometimes forgets the physical aspect of things.

I am not unfamiliar with how cubism, surrealism, Jenny Holzer and grafitti art have exploited text visually. But I may now be so attracted to word art because I have been using words every day of my life as a writer for a long time. Their squiggly forms and edges are familiar. They are friends. I try to respect them. I also like to see them appropriately appreciated and raised to the level of art or humor or absurdity, if necessary.

It is funny, that when I called this blog "artfultext," I wasn't thinking of the "beauty" of words or the beauty of words as physical objects. I was simply interested in words about art. But I guess art and words are intertwined for me.

Though when I really think about it, this artful mixing of words and meaning became acutely joyful, even with the economic downturn, after the 2008 election. To commemorate that day, in a small way, I bought a keychain with a picture of President Barack Obama and "Yes We Can" on it. Here were three words spoken by the candidate who became our president. And I could carry them in my pocket. A friend was collecting election memorabilia, so in the spirit of the moment, I gave her the key chain.

But I was feeling bereft. I wanted a token of the election, too. So I Googled other keychains. No luck. I then came to I found a little circular, silver pendant, stamped with the words "Yes We Can," from onelifejewelry for $15, as illustrated above and I bought it. I guess it is my little piece of text-art-cum-jewelry that I wear around my neck every day.

No comments:

Post a Comment