Text and image are two forms of communication that have enormous potential to combine, intermingle, blend, and flow – thus creating new modes of expression. This is the underlying theme of \’flo\: art, text, new media, a group exhibition opening on April 15, 2009 (reception 6:00 – 8:00 pm), at The Center for Book Arts in New York City.
The exhibition features over thirty artists, whose backgrounds are in different media, including painting, sculpture, video and performance art, printing, and the book arts. These artists are exhibiting new work that exemplifies the creative dynamism of melding the written word with visual arts.
Exhibition Curator Rocío Aranda-Alvarado says: “Through the imaginative prism of these artists, it’s no longer necessary to regard text and image as separate substances, like oil and water. Instead, they have profound potential to blend and create a synthesis of expressive forms, something beyond the realm of traditional media.”
Artists in the exhibition include: Cara Barer, Victoria Bean, Karen Bleitz, Terry Boddie, Chris Burnett, Karlos Cárcamo, Brendan Carroll, Cheto Castellano, Vidal Centeno, Young-Hae Chang/Marc Voge, Andrew Demirjian, Dahlia Elsayed, Leor Grady, Heather Johnson, Elaine Kaufmann, Swati Khurana, Jessica Lagunas, Tami Lynn, Jeanette May, Emily McVarish, Roni Mocan, Shayok Mukhopadhyay, Clifford Owens, Robin Price, Diane Samuels, Rocco Scary, Holli Schorno, Nyugen Smith, Masumi Shibata, Jennifer Sullivan, Scott Taylor, Delmira Valladares, Alejandra Villasmil, and Sam Winston. An artist talk will be held with Dahlia Elsayed, Jessica Lagunas, Clifford Owens, and Robin Price on Wednesday, May 27, at 6:30 pm, at the Center for Book Arts.
In one example, Brendan Carroll’s Polaroids combine typewritten text with photography of various subjects. In Bologna and Mayo on White Bread (2005-2008), the artist has recorded a number of homes, buildings and other structures from the suburban neighborhood in which he was raised, Kendall Park, New Jersey. Typed on each Polaroid below the images are the artist’s own memories, memories gleaned from others, or overheard phrases and borrowed snatches of conversation.
This exhibition also explores how the various definitions of the word “flow” are applicable to a variety of works of art, and are particularly appropriate for less traditional media such as video art and computer art.
Andrew Demirjian’s videos, for instance, take their subject matter from text, art history, popular culture and music as a referential landscape shaped by his digital tools. In The Rustle of Language the artist uses a four-channel video to create a pseudo-narrative about the excess of information in contemporary life. The artist uses texts as diverse as a celebrity gossip magazine (In Touch), a children’s book (Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!), a guide to self-improvement (John Kabat-zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are) and a theoretical textbook (Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies by Stuart Hall), all of which are read aloud intermittently and by chance.
Throughout the works presented here, text is used in a variety of signifying ways. It explores passion and emotion, it becomes critical to understanding the image, it works to manipulate the meaning of language and finally, it literally moves like the flow of air or water. Ability with language, an outpouring of ideas, and the continuous movement or circulation of text are among the most significant features of the works in this exhibition. The motion, meanings, interpretations and powers of expression are all ultimately connected through the endless visual flow of language.