Text is everywhere, bombarding us daily without our having to open a book or power-up a computer. Newspaper headlines greet us on our way to work; billboards hover; text messages stream through space and tickers run across screens, measuring the pulse of our world. Text also plays a ubiquitous role in contemporary art. Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present More Than Words, an exhibition of work by artists who are drawn to text as subject and which explores the challenges they face incorporating it into their chosen medium.
Biologist E. O Wilson theorizes that the symbols of all languages are intrinsically pleasing to the eye, albeit in very different ways. That notion is certainly borne out by the long, rich history-
from hieroglyphs to corporate logos, from illuminated manuscripts to graffiti-of the intertwining of these two very different modes of visual expression, image and text.
Inevitably, when we encounter text in art we first “read” its literal meaning. But the absorption of linguistic signs into this new formal structure decontextualizes them, freeing them from their normal significance. Letters, words and phrases take on new and unexpected metaphoric roles as they are subsumed within the form inherent to a particular work of art. It is this expanded capacity for meaning that makes text in art more than just words.
Selected participating artists: Carl Andre, Fiona Banner, Nayland Blake, Michael Cooper, Lesley Dill, Stephen Ellis, Lee Etheredge IV, Graham Gillmore, Guy Goodwin, Shirazeh Houshiary, Robert Indiana, Ellen Kahn, Joyce Kim, Lawrence Lee, Glenn Ligon, Mark Lombardi, Suzanne McClelland, Bruce Nauman, Aaron Parazette, Richard Prince, Nicolas Rule, Ed Ruscha, John Walker, Michael Waugh