From Stella Rosa McDonald…
For nearly every thing there exists a word. In the gap between a word and its image lies the figurative potential of the language and the linguistic value of the image. The nature of reading and writing, particularly in relation to the production of creative work, is fertile ground for artists who play with these visual representations of language. It was on this assumption that co-curators Bronia Iwanczak and Lynne Barwick began their year-long gallery project Affialiated Text. Bad spelling, now on in the tiny gallery space inside the Cross Arts Bookshop, is informed by curator Robert Lake’s dyslexia and, though it feels like this is a missed opportunity in terms of the visual arrangement of the somewhat linear exhibition, comprehension is at the core of this charismatic exhibition.
Already complex, language takes on added meaning when its signposts are removed, switched around or forgotten altogether. Jane O’Neill’s House for rent is a found sign that doubles as an “authentic” word painting. The advertisement asks the reader to “enquier within” and O’Neill’s is an artistic act that pays homage to the artistry of casual commerce as well as the work of Robert Macpherson whose word paintings and appropriated signs documented colloquialisms and everyday linguistic codes. Whether found, deliberate or accidental the misunderstandings in these works are predictably entertaining and absorbing. Dara Gill’s enamel portraits of misspelled verbs (Drouwning, Choaking, Fawling, Berning etcetera) snap nonsense into sense and back again which, like many of the works in this exhibition, subtly stretch the political, social and literary potential of the word.
Until July 10
Affiliated Text, Kings Cross
Pic: Robert Pulie, Voiceless Velar Plosive, 2014. Oil, alkyd and enamel on cotton, 45.5 x 35.5cm. Courtesy the artist and The Commercial Gallery, Sydney. Photo credit Jessica Maurer