Using Text

Makeshift 2019
36″ x 20″ x 16″

There is information invisibly flying all around us, penetrating our bodies, and playing with our minds. It was true even in the days of radio.

To give a nod to this phenomenon, I have used text in my work for years and years. Way before the internet, I was stitching symbols in my work, some unreadable, some not. I made sentences with only one letter per word. “R U M T?” Are you empty?

Digging for pieces of wood at the Goodwill Clearance Center provides me with letters for words/not words in my work. “Melissa and Doug” have a company that makes wooden toys for kids. They are good to stock up on if you work with wood.

In this chair, letters were cut up and applied to the inside of the chair and are not meant to be read. They are just noise, are blackish and work well with the inside of the apron, which is also blackish. The letter “C” sits on the back of the apron.

Because of the power of language, I don’t often compose a real word. It would totally dominate the composition. Even shapes that disguise themselves as being letters, but are not, can be powerful. I sand those letters down, relieving them of some of their power.

Short Colon 2018
42″ x 16″ x 17″

The woman that this chair is depicting is me. The words and letters are not just noise. They are clues. The backward yellow “C” in the front refers to colon cancer, which is why I have a shorter colon than most. Placing it backward and muting its color with sanding cuts its visual strength. I took the word “family”, cut it up, only suggested the “Y”, cut the “F” totally away, and cut the “A” in half, so the word does not overpower the rest of the composition. And so it does not look like a label.

I included this suggestion of “family” because it seems to be our family’s disease.

On the back of this piece, there is another “C” performing a functional job at the top of the left leg. The two other letters here are just noise, a “W” and the “F” from the word “Family” in the other view, presented backward.

Using things backward presents lots of opportunities and allows for a quiet suggestion.

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