Group Show: Catching the Word
Press Release / February 1 - March 8, 2008
Joe Amrhein Adam Niklewicz
David Baskin John Plowman
Jane Benson Bob+Roberta Smith
AJ Bocchino Matt Lawrence Stafford
Isidro Blasco Michael Van den Besselaar
For this group exhibition Black and White Gallery // Chelsea has brought together a selection of text based works under the title Catching The Word. The title refers to the way participating artists use text to challenge the passive nature of traditional art-viewing by engaging the viewers as active participants in the exchange of information. By means of diverse mediums, these artists transmit messages whose task is to establish a specific relationship between a sender (artist) and a receiver (viewer).
In some instances messages are in the form of easily accessible short utterances reminiscent of SMS text messages. Though presented as absolute truths cast in resin, photographed, printed, or inscribed on a canvas, they are used not to impose a finite meaning on viewers but to share meaning through viewers’ own personal reflection.
In other instances, language appears less accessible and no longer used for open communication between a sender and a receiver. Since these types of messages are less likely to be deciphered, they are thus protected from outside eyes. It turns out to be a way for senders to exclude all those receivers who will not understand the message. Language is no longer a means of communication but, conversely, a limit that can be perceived by a viewer as the experience of rejection and by a sender as guarding his private space. Unlike a relationship imbued with conviviality and mutual understanding, these works explore what happens on the dark side, when the equilibrium teeters.
Catching The Word’s goal is to test how instrumental words and language are in affecting the notion of cultural and social “territories" and the relationship individuals construct with their environment, private or shared space.