Words & Images
The ability to perceive and understand language has been said to be hardwired in our brains. As we all develop (with exceptions only rarely) we learn to understand language, then speak a language and finally to read and write a language. Our culture is biased towards the written word versus a language of images. There are some accepted images in our culture, but we are not taught in school to understand a visual language. In studying the art from the Pre-Raphaelites, one learns the general population would look at their paintings and understand the symbolism portrayed by the image of a particular flower or animal. Today, we do not find that kind of uniform understanding of visual images.
My work uses common forms of the news media as the basis for creating a visual image. The featured image is a good example of the balance between the written word and the visual image. Because the language is French, it may appear even more as a visual image to English speakers. The written language becomes a visual part of the overall work because it is not read automatically.
How often have you seen artworks that contain written words and visual images and found yourself reading the words first? In my experience, the words are so quickly read, I’m not even fully noticing other parts of the artwork. It’s one reason I attempt to break up the writing by adding a free flowing drawn line. The freely drawn line also is meant to bring the eye into the visual images as well.
And aren’t letters just another form of visual images? Don’t they sometimes become of interest on a visual level just as they are? We all know the various use of fonts changes our attention level. I’d like to see greater recognition given to the almost invisible art created by graphic designers and those that design our everyday sources of visual news. They are masters at spatial manipulation and have created a standard for viewing print and digital media. My art is appreciative of their work and hopes to bring that invisible hand into one’s consciousness.
Twenty Five Years and 2 Days