The visual imagery of words

Posted 8/21/19

Safe Harbors Ann Street Gallery presents TEXT, a group exhibition. This text-based art exhibit is being curated in conjunction with Safe Harbors Newburgh Literary Festival, October 18-20.

The TEXT …

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The visual imagery of words

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Safe Harbors Ann Street Gallery presents TEXT, a group exhibition. This text-based art exhibit is being curated in conjunction with Safe Harbors Newburgh Literary Festival, October 18-20.

The TEXT exhibition explores the relationship between visual imagery and words in the practice of artists who integrate a text aesthetic into their work as a mechanism for communicating meaning.

As a vehicle for artistic expression, the use of text provides artists with the perfect platform for creating a dialogue with their viewers. Words are powerful tools. They influence the way people think and react; they reflect one’s thoughts and effect behaviors; they also form a system of conventionalized symbols used for communicating, language. And, because language has the capacity to be understood by a wider audience, the versatility of this combination of the visual imagery and words, plays a significant role in engaging the viewer while fostering a greater appreciation of the artist’s work.

It was in the early twentieth century, that American artists began utilizing text in their work. However, the connection of visual creations and the written word predates this period and has had a long relationship throughout history. We can see this coupling in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writings and the illuminated manuscripts, where letters and words are enriched with decorations and illustrations. Later, the Dada and Surrealist poet-artists, who had a preoccupation with the use of words in images, were at the forefront of utilizing text in their art. Again, in the 1960’s this intertwining of visual art and text increased in popularity, playing a central role with Pop Artists, exemplified in Andy Warhol’s creation of the Campbell soup can paintings and Roy Lichtenstein’s use of language in his comic strip bubble quote pieces.

Today’s contemporary artists continue to embrace a text-based practice, finding innovative and clever ways to enhance the central messaging of their work by engaging in semiotic word play that creates narratives often associated with literature. Viewers can see such work on display in the TEXT exhibition. Those ranging from the imaginative to the fantastic, highlighting the textual elements present in textiles, paintings, typography, assemblage, book binding, letterpress, sculpture, and installations. These works extend across a broad spectrum of approaches with each artist employing a unique perspective demonstrated by a commanding use of materials, textures and colors. The results are visually appealing to a stunning effect.

Artists featured: Erin Anfinson, Elysa Batista, Ginger Burrell, Adele Crawford, Erika deVries, Linda Ekstrom, Kathryn Frund, Mimi Czajka Graminski, Alex Gingrow, Shanti Grumbine, Kate Horvat, Candace Hicks, Michelle Kaufman, Karen Mainenti, Joe Nanashe, Ilse Schreiber-Noll, Dina White, and Audra Wolowiec.

The TEXT exhibit was curated by Virginia Walsh in conjunction with the Safe Harbors Newburgh Literary Festival and will remain on view through Saturday, October 19.

An artists reception will occur on Saturday, August 24, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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