Eid Ma Clack Shaw
Organized by Abby Messitte
February 7 - March 7, 2015
Opening reception, Sat. Feb. 7th, 5-7pm
Gallery hours: Thursday – Saturday, 1:30-6 and by appointment
Ellen Berkenblit, Damien Crisp, Steve DiBenedetto, Rob Fischer, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Graham Hamilton, Simone Shubuck, Ruby Sky Stiler, Despina Stokou, Whiting Tennis, Wayne White
“I fell back asleep some time later on
And I dreamed the perfect song
It held all the answers, like hands laid on
I woke halfway and scribbled it down
And in the morning, what I wrote, I read
It was hard to read at first but here's what it said:
"Eid ma clack shaw zupoven del ba
Mertepy ven seinur cofally ragdah"
- Bill Callahan, from Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
Songwriter Bill Callahan tells of how a bad case of writer’s block is broken by a dream in which the perfect song reveals itself: a song whose flawlessness is not compromised by the nonsensical content of the lyrics.
The artworks in this exhibition employ text as a formal element. At times fragmentary or illegible, language acts as a medium, just like color or composition. Liberated from linguistics, the letters convey a more immediate authority. As such, the elegance and structure of the mark-making take precedence over meaning.
Ellen Berkenblit renders words with a grace and confidence consistent with all of her painterly gestures. Damien Crisp melds activist notes and thoughts with emotive paint. Steve DiBenedetto renders provocative phrases as hyperactive landscapes. Rob Fischer uses re-purposed glass painted with fragments of text, reminiscent of abandoned signage. Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s printed plexiglass depict performers contorted in the shape of letters. Graham Hamilton’s artist’s statement is cut into painted MDF with a CNC table router. Simone Shubuck uses vintage book pages as the ground for ruminative drawings. Ruby Sky Stiler’s wall relief cobbles together an incongruous pastiche of imagery and text, which references classical antiquity. Despina Stokou paints text as she would a landscape in her layered and at times subversive mixed media works. For Whiting Tennis, words and letters become the building blocks for imagined architectural structures in his works on paper. Wayne White’s bold phrases become monuments within the backdrops of found thrift-store paintings.