November 18 - December 30, 2017
Small Editions is pleased to present (wordless), a group exhibition featuring the works of Rosaire Appel, Zipora Fried, and Renee Gladman. In conjunction with the exhibition, Conch Shell’s Katie Giritlian will lead a workshop on the evening of December 2nd at 7PM.
Marks are observations, embedded in time like fractured thoughts, accumulating to become — the beginning and end of a brushstroke, the overlapping of tape, a piece of paper draped onto itself, or the softening of a line into a cloud of gouache. (wordless) turns to the generosity of image as a form that shapes across a fluidity and multiplicity of interpretation.
Suspended and swooning in an opulent spill, All I Thought And Forgot #1, 2009, by Zipora Fried tallies minutes as thoughts in portioned views of a gridded totality. Individual markings cohere into a graphite mass that is woven senseless, lost in space as in time. The clamor of these strokes, fast and sharp, thatch an impenetrable surface, a diary of impressions that, nonetheless, persists in opacity. #25 Night, 2016, is fleeting in blurry accumulation, a vision that refuses to condense further in the seemingly-fathomless noir that surrounds. Color creeps into cognizance like the arrival of memory to the mind, begging the question, Am I emerging or receding?
Rosaire Appel’s work is active with pauses, absences that punctuate a staccato compositional flow. Silky stains bend with the pages of Bat 8 (Getting Started), 2016, following its direction through the brief course of a single brush stroke. In her emphasis on fragment —be it a page, a line of ink, or pieces of tape— she directs our perception from one particle to the next, urging us to interpret a narrative of the unfamiliar. In Alphabet, 2016, blots of ink are nuanced by subtle calligraphic strokes evocative of Japanese ensō, shifting through minute metomorphoses that articulate a grammar of form. The title, prompting eyes to read characters or letters, leaves us with singularities within a void, opening to the possibility of the white surface.
Building from text in the movement of lines and the liquid sprawl of pigment, Renee Gladman weaves language through space, constructing ‘prose architectures’ on the ground of the page. Circling and branching, words become ladders and arches that slide, fall, extend into clouds of watercolor and gouache. In Untitled (spectre), 2017, a paragraph unfolds as bridge across a bay, while Untitled, 2017, is ordered by gridded windows and charted axes. Drawing writing and writing drawing, Gladman composes in lines of thought that define and are defined by space — that which they propose and in which they take shape.
Touching the meaning of words without being limited to them, (wordless) expresses not through sign and signified, but through the rhythms of grammars and silences that are as expressive as the sentences that they punctuate. (wordless) does not seek to escape signification; the absence of language comes not as dismissal of meaning but as the suggestion that it may be accessed through different modes of vision and revision; that —as historian Tina Campt has suggested— our eyes may learn to recognize different registers of enunciation through image.
~Julia Blasius and Nicole Kaack
Rosaire Appel is a digital artist/ photographer/ writer and analog draw-er. Her subject is (written) language as a visual entity. Text and image are like oil and water and they link to different parts of the brain. Combining them to the extent that boundaries are fudged, that the text part and the image part assert themselves in each other’s clothing – this is one strategy, there are many others. Asemic writing is writing that has no semantic value, it cannot be translated verbally, it is not code, yet it is a form of language. If we are entering a post-information era, we need to evolve our concepts of language and expand our parameters of interpretation. Appel’s investigations often culminate in visual books, of which she has published over 30. Other recent books include an abstract comic travelogue, ‘Intersections’, published by Adverse (Paris), and ‘Zinc Zanc Zunc, an asemic conjugation’ published by Post-Asemic Press. Appel’s drawings and prints have been in many local and international exhibits.
Zipora Fried studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna. Recent exhibitions include Marfa Contemporary, Marfa (2015); On Stellar Rays, New York (2014/2011/2009); Galerie Steinek, Vienna (2014); Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo (2014); Clocktower Gallery, New York (2013); Katzen Center for the Arts, American University, Washington DC (2013); ACFNY, New York (2012); Peter Blum Gallery, New York (2012); MoMA PS1, Queens (2010/2009); Public Art Fund, New York (2010); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2010); Eighth Veil, Los Angeles (2009); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2006). Fried’s work is represented a number of museum collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; The Albertina Museum, Vienna; Katzen Center for the Arts, American University, Washington, DC; The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge. Fried is also the recipient of numerous awards for her experimental films, which have been featured in festivals worldwide.
Katie Giritlian is an artist, curator, and founder of Conch Shell. She is interested in vernacular uses of photography, acts of memorialization, and desire, and explores these threads through staged blurry snapshots, oral storytelling performances, image and text combinations, and group listening exercises. She is based in New York City, Los Angeles, and sometimes a desert. She graduated with a BA in Art History from Barnard College in 2016 and currently works in publications and bookstore programming at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn. Conch Shell is an open platform for organizing accessible, group listening sessions to stories, music, sounds, each other, and anything else wished to be included within the framework of collective listening. These could manifest in guided walks, trips to an ocean, huddles around a speaker, or group creations of sound art.
Renee Gladman is a writer and artist preoccupied with lines, crossings, thresholds, and geographies as they emerge in the languages between drawing and writing. She is the author of eleven published works, including a cycle of novels about the city-state Ravicka and its inhabitants, the Ravickians, as well as Prose Architectures, her first monograph of drawings (Wave Books, 2017). She lives and makes work in New England with poet-ceremonialist Danielle Vogel.