Current Exhibition

Amparo Sard Sights and Shadows February 28- April 4

Press Release

Karen Schiff Symbolic Fields in the Artists Book Vitrine

Karen Schiff will present “Symbolic Fields” drawings in our book vitrine. Her works read language and punctuation against the grain, asking viewers to reread text visually. She aims to restore writing to its original status as abstract drawing, with indeterminate meanings. In the “Symbolic Fields” series, the artist uses rubber stamps of letters, numbers, and/or symbols to create carpet pages of text, on archival German stamp album paper. She then “annotates” the results to reveal patterns and highlight anomalies, so the field of illegible linguistic discourse becomes a field of indefinite visual space. This work draws upon Roland Barthes’s idea of “the rustle of language,” and Jan Verwoert’s suggestion that the writer's relation to language is like the experience of a cow, cooling in a pond. It also recalls the phenomenon of staring at a word for so long that it starts to seem nonsensical: the reliability of language is replaced by a sense of vertigo.

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