Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Matter Of Words

Language shapes our understanding of the world and the nature of our relationships. The words we choose reflect our mindset and establish connection to our physical and social environments. Language is therefore a landscape of codes that we negotiate in order to understand or express a particular world or personal view. The artists in this exhibition have created works that reference the medium of the printed word. The have transcended the original context of their subjects while giving expression to the powerful, formal, properties of their media. These works also pay homage to the Minimalist, Modernist and Conceptual Art of the latter part of the twentieth century.

In an age of electronic media, where the printed word is rapidly being dematerialized as a result of digital forms, “the matter of words” may soon become an outmoded concept.

This spring my parents came down for the Bloch exhibit at the BYU art musuem. It was fabulous, beautiful and touching. I wasn't quite sure if picutres were allowed plus there were so many going through that exhibit that I could never get good angles of the gorgeous paintings so I ended up with only a couple of photos of that exhibit. I did include them at the bottom of this post. Across the way from the exhibit was another, very intriguing exhibit all about the "written word" Oh it was fantastic. The main focal point of the exhibit was an enormous trapizoid built entirely out of books, it was fascinating, I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. You got a different, outstanding view at every angle, it was genious!

Harrell Fletcher was one of the three artists to exhibit in this show,
he displayed these Bibles color coded by Veda Epling.

"During Harrell Fletcher’s residency at Artspace in San Antonio, he met and befriended Veda Epling, a homeless woman then living in a church’s doorway. The artist noticed that Epling had a curious habit: she obsessively highlighted bibles, imposing a code of her own invention upon page after page of scripture. Fletcher provided Veda with materials, several Bibles and colored highlighters, and commissioned her to create these new works. Veda worked obsessively to communicate her idiosyncratic vision through the medium of the printed pages of her scriptures. Her Bibles exemplify the use of a restricted language code, as she is the only person who can understand her color-coded communications between herself and God. He landscape is one of communication."

Veda has been rewarded through a fund established by the artist from the acquisition of these works.

In another corner of the gallery was an "Untitled" piece that was a vast ocean of uncooked letter noodles that had all been painted completely black.  There was no explaination included for the piece, that was left to the imagination.

Contemporary American artist John Fraser, based in Chicago, uses the spines, covers, and end papers of worn books to create his works of art.  The shades of ivory in the end papers, streaks of faded glue, and bits of thread from the spines are oblique references to books as a medium for the printed word.  Fraser’s Mondrian-like compositions reflect the rectilinear format of the books from which they are derived, creating an easy alignment with the minimalist forms of lat Modernism.  His works are subtle reference to the world of books as a medium of communication and provide an Avenue for the contemplation of the sublime in his sparse choice of visual elements.
The Matter Of Words exhibit is still up at BYU if any of you readers would like to see it in person.  It really is fabulous.

Bloch Exhibit
We were all given ipads to guide us through the exhibit


  1. soooo..... you liked this guys 'trapezoid' of books? How come my table of books (much more useful than a trapezoid) didn't make it onto your blog huh? haha.

  2. I love the exhibit on books. I'm not a big shopper, but books have always been my weakness. There is something exciting about getting a new book and discovering the story behind its pages. The Bloch exhibit was truly amazing. He was a master at incorporating deep emotion and capturing the light beautifully in his subjects.