“To say in words what words can not say.” Victor Zuckerkandl
The works in this
website are the result of years of searching and finding, losing and
I began using
words in my art in the early 1960’s in Houston, Texas. I am
still using and experimenting with words to this day.
Initially I felt
I had to break down the barriers of making sense by just listing words
taken at random from the dictionary and putting them on canvas and
board sometimes by themselves, at other times with designed or familiar
images in which words were covered. The idea of taking the word out
of context opened a new visual world for me. I continue to experiment
with words, looking for and creating new relationships between the
form of the word and a variety of images.
Many of the pieces
have specific references both verbal and visual. I often purposely
use clichés and combine them with imagery from various sources
(i.e. designs and photographs that are Xeroxed). The pictures and
title combine to re-invent the cliché for the viewer. Over
time and repeated readings, unexpected connections and narratives
To me making art
is chancy and uncertain, but these are also essential ingredients
for a determined innovative approach to art. This attitude led me
to the technique of cutting words out of wood and creating word relief
pictures as well as 3-dimensional word sculptures. Some of these pieces
are covered in Xerox text or images while others are painted or I
allowed the texture of the wood to help carry the idea of the piece.
There were a couple
times when I put the word pieces on hold to experiment with other
art forms. Once was in New York City for a period of six months when
I did some pipe and cable installation. Another time was in 1984 after
a long (9 year) dry period when I started doing paintings. The paintings
eventually led me back to using words first in conjunction with the
paintings then in words where the word itself played a major role.
The total shape
of the word piece also carries interest for me. At first I used square
and rectangular forms on which I layered the words. Later I used the
shape of the cross. I layered words selected at random on the cross,
motivated by expressions such as “star crossed,” “cross
Two series which
I produced in the 1990’s had to do with expressions made in
films. These expressions in turn became popular in many cultures especially
in his country. The first was “You talkin’ to me?”
from the film Taxi Driver with Robert DeNiro made in 1977. The second
was “What a Dump” uttered by Bette Davis in a film titled
The Other Side of the Forest made in 1949. Albeit neither of these
expressions are of mythical or Biblical proportions, I felt they were
worth investigating and investing time in. The results to me were
successful and satisfied my curiosity.
Ideas can be re-used
for a thousand variations supplying the framework for a whole body
of work rather than just a single piece. I have tried to do work that
is new and exciting. Using words in various ways is my primary interest
and I hope to continue in this direction.
Some people see
my work and look for hidden messages or misspelled words. Well, there
are no hidden messages. There may be a couple of misspelled words
and you are certainly welcome to look for them. I like to think of
them as typographical errors.
get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain
of not working.” Stephen De Staebler.