Quarantine

Quarantine

Quarantine, as featured in BLOC Gallery’s exhibition “Turbulent Times” (link below)

Artist Statement:

My project is a series of photo-text works employing ink-blooms and codewords I have drawn from archival sources such as the ABC Universal Electric Telegraph Codebooks (editions 4 and 5) from the late 1800s, or of my own devising. Quarantine and its related body of work are not intended to be fixed, either in themselves (new versions may be mae) or in their relation to each other. I am interested in what happens when we see an image with text. Does the text operate to give the image ‘meaning’ or does the text strip ‘meaning’? Is the text disposable or necessary to draw the viewers’ in? Here, the bold white text in the same heavy font as used in Edward Ruscha’s mountain paintings, locks the image in place and demands to be read. It is clear and simple, dominating the piece. It was Ruscha’s work, along with the public messages and truisms of Jenny Holzer that inspired the loud, billboard-like design and the signage of Bob and Roberta Smith prompted the idea of encoded political messages. Primarily, this is a piece that seeks to test the viewers’ engagement with what they see. The text stands out, capturing the image and acting as a connection between it and the audience. This kind of work relies on the human desire to read and understand what is presented to them. When given an image we can so easily ignore it as being simply an image, but when given a line of text (or just a single word) we automatically read it and thus connect with it. The ink-blooms that act as a backdrop to the piece are influenced by the ideas of Barnett Newman in regard to the sublime and his suggestion that it cannot be captured unless all associations are removed. The clouds hope to draw any associations in the moment by the overlaid text and the audience. Almost inevitably, the work also reflects and addresses the current pandemic. The ‘perceived’ fixity of the text traps the image–a possible metaphor for lockdown. The confusion over what is being said by the image also mirrors my own confusion in regard to messages from authority: politicians, tutors and officials. Ever-changing tier systems and honey coated truths are reflected in words like “Longtail” and “Quest” which by the 4th edition telegram codebooks represent “Lock-out” and “Quarantine”. I feel there is potential to take this concept to a sculptural form, experimenting with what changes occur when this concept is taken to spoken word and an object. Is it the written word that is so important or is spoken word just as potent? What happens to the audience’s engagement when they are able to move around the image? Would the environmental nature of sculpture immerse the viewers in the concept or would there be to much of a choice not to engage in the piece? It is these ideas that I hope to explore in future iterations of Quarantine.

My project is a series of photo-text works employing ink-blooms and codewords I have drawn from archival sources such as the ABC Universal Electric Telegraph Codebooks (editions 4 and 5) from the late 1800s, or of my own devising. Quarantine and its related body of work are not intended to be fixed, either in themselves (new versions may be made) or in their relation to each other.

I am interested in what happens when we see an image with text. Does the text operate to give the image ‘meaning’ or does the text strip ‘meaning’? Is the text disposable or necessary to draw the viewers’ in? Here, the bold white text in the same heavy font as used in Edward Ruscha’s mountain paintings, locks the image in place and demands to be read. It is clear and simple, dominating the piece.
It was Ruscha’s work, along with the public messages and truisms of Jenny Holzer that inspired the loud, billboard-like design and the signage of Bob and Roberta Smith prompted the idea of encoded political messages.

Primarily, this is a piece that seeks to test the viewers’ engagement with what they see. The text stands out, capturing the image and acting as a connection between it and the audience. This kind of work relies on the human desire to read and understand what is presented to them. When given an image we can so easily ignore it as being simply an image, but when given a line of text (or just a single word) we automatically read it and thus connect with it.

The ink-blooms that act as a backdrop to the piece are influenced by the ideas of Barnett Newman in regard to the sublime and his suggestion that it cannot be captured unless all associations are removed. The clouds hope to draw any associations in the moment by the overlaid text and the audience.

Almost inevitably, the work also reflects and addresses the current pandemic. The ‘perceived’ fixity of the text traps the image–a possible metaphor for lockdown. The confusion over what is being said by the image also mirrors my own confusion in regard to messages from authority: politicians, tutors and officials. Ever-changing tier systems and honey coated truths are reflected in words like “Longtail” and “Quest” which by the 4th edition telegram codebooks represent “Lock-out” and “Quarantine”.

I feel there is potential to take this concept to a sculptural form, experimenting with what changes occur when this concept is taken to spoken word and an object. Is it the written word that is so important or is spoken word just as potent? What happens to the audience’s engagement when they are able to move around the image? Would the environmental nature of sculpture immerse the viewers in the concept or would there be to much of a choice not to engage in the piece? It is these ideas that I hope to explore in future iterations of Quarantine.