The use of text and semiotics in visual art greatly influences the content and meaning of the work. It is difficult to solely extract composition, color, texture, and layers without the weighted meaning of words - their definitions, origins, cultural significance, suggestions of past, present, and future, and emotional impact. Language adds another complex layer to the work to produce a powerful impact. In the same way, gestural mark making and unidentifiable symbolism can communicate something similar and act as an abstract text. Many artists, such as Basquiat, bring this element to their work.
The artists included in this show incorporate text and mark making in various ways, ranging from delicate to dramatic and their materials vary greatly, from crocheted yarn to etched aluminum, but their work cannot be separated from the words with their power and presence. Kerry Phillips crocheted words and phrases, such as her pink ‘Merde”, hang sweetly off pins, their cast shadow further enveloping the space and their overlapping strings weaving and solidifying the words. Karim Ghidinelli’s etched aluminum pieces pull together his train of thought as lines in an enlarged thumbprint, with poured paint immersing and interacting in many ways with the text written in Italian, English, and other languages. Scott Covert travels the world visiting the graves of those who have dedicated their lives to arts and culture. He makes rubbings of the graves and incorporates them into his bold and layered paintings on muslin. Bold exclamations derived from comic book text and expressive figures are prominent in the paintings of Dan Monteavaro. Prismatic colors and heavy outline present humorous, derivative, and emotional narratives.
Whether the text is used as texture, content, or narrative, is subtle, vivid, or embedded, its importance and meaning is undeniable in the works of these talented artists.