Body Language ("Buzz Buzz Buzz," 2013)

In these “Body Language” drawings, I have traced my own hand finger-spelling the word “words” (see below).  This project ties into my work in general, which transforms text into visual material.  By creating illegible writing, I try to access what is beyond words.  I am interested in direct sensory experience, which language can only strive to express.

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz is a triptych because, as Hamlet says, “Words, words, words.”  Repeating a word makes it lose meaning -- and Hamlet’s line is asking:  what do words mean, anyway?  He soon answers himself (this is all in Act II, scene ii of Hamlet):  “Buzz, buzz.”  Maybe language is just static in the mind, translating into burble in the mouth.    (Or “buzz” can be musical...I think the compositions and color intensities of these pieces can convey tonal emphasis -- both as a visual pulse within the piece, and as a stage direction for how to say the line:  “WORDS, words, words.”)

I like for my artworks to make a visual impression first, just as the word “buzz” makes an aural impression first.  (Actually, any word makes either a visual or an aural impression, before we understand it as meaning -- we have to see it or hear it to digest it!)  The story is available if the viewer becomes interested in learning more about the work.  

In addition to transforming my 3-D hand into a 2-D image, these drawings use ink to give the 2-D image an ambiguous dimensionality.  I think of x-rays, which let you see through flesh.  The result is still a 2-D image, but the image is not the result of a flattening of stereoscopic vision; it is rather the result of turning vision (or flesh) inside out.  While I drew the contours of the shapes through direct contact with my skin, the ink parts represent the inner, inaccessible flesh.  In this context, I like the ink’s fluidity:  the body slips away from any attempt to fix its meaning.