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We Between the Lines

Morgan Lehman Gallery
535 West 22nd Street, 6th floor, 212-268-6699
March 25 - May 1, 2010
Reception: Thursday, March 25, 6 - 8 PM
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Morgan Lehman Gallery is pleased to announce We Between the Lines, an exhibition of text-based paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture by six mid-career and emerging artists, curated by Liz Parks.

Artists: Charles Gute, Zach Houston, Nina Katchadourian, Kay Rosen, John Salvest, Rob Wynne

Drawing upon Conceptual Art’s theory that a work of art is not fully created until the analysis of the work supersedes the object itself, We Between the Lines examines text as a work’s primary “subject” – and specifically as a subject that engages the viewer in deciphering a literal or linguistic puzzle. Many of the works included in the exhibition connote a double meaning or play-on-words, as the title suggests: the word “We” contains the same “long E” vowel sound as “Read,” rhyming with the word it has replaced, thus conjuring memories of the missing word – and what does one read, but text? At the same time, the new word “We” references those artists working with language. Playful, yet not lacking in gravity, the works in We Between the Lines challenge the viewer to a game of reading between the lines.

Charles Gute’s Find-a-Text paintings venerate the mass-produced word-cross puzzle to a unique work of art. One version is unsolved, and another presents the accompanying answer. Gute’s paintings celebrate themes typically reserved for discussions pertaining to “high art,” in contrast to the pedestrian source on which they are based.

Zach Houston’s words are his art, and as such are presented in a number of formats – as typed poems, hand-drawn works on paper, and large wall drawings. Often Houston’s words are manipulated by the separation, reconfiguration, addition, or omission of specific letters, resulting in a more poetic reading of the text than their uncomplicated presentation might initially suggest.

For her Sorted Books series of photographs, Nina Katchadourian culls a small group of unrelated tomes from a library’s collection, and photographs their spines, stacked atop or resting upon one another. The resulting flow of the titles creates an intriguing, haiku-like statement about both the collection, specifically, and the field of fine art, generally.

Kay Rosen’s elegant, straightforward paintings present a single word or phrase that, when certain letters are given more prominence through such visual cues as capitalization or offset color, parlay an alternate, yet related, and often amusing, meaning to the work.

In The Great American Novel, John Salvest brings the exploration of the power of everyday objects inherent in his sculpture to a two-dimensional format. Salvest’s words, stamped on paper in numerous directions, create a linguistic morass so thick as to render this novel illegible.

An offshoot of his glass text series, Rob Wynne’s glass sculpture emulates a childhood-favorite game, the Magic 8-Ball, in translucent version. Yet here, the message is always guaranteed to be optimistic.

Concurrent with the opening, Zach Houston will present the Poem Store, an ongoing “performance/business/literature project” wherein the artist composes spur-of-the-moment poems based upon words or phrases provided by individuals willing to pay anywhere from “zero to infinity” for his services.

Morgan Lehman and Liz Parks would like to thank Yvon Lambert Gallery, Sara Meltzer Gallery, and Jason Rulnick Inc. for their assistance in organizing this exhibition.
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