Words are powerful. We might thank Christopher Wool, Barbara Kruger or Ed Ruscha for pushing the role of text into art. While there is a constant debate on whether the artwork itself should depend on the title to connect with the viewer, when an artist uses text in art it can be a symbol for concise or open ended ideas. What does it mean if an artist uses a word such as “ABOUT” or “ALMOST” in their artwork? There is not only unlimited room surrounding that symbol that we are familiar with, but we are also left in a space to push ourselves harder to understand what we are feeling at the moment. Artwork with text uses various other elements to create content in addition to the words. It might be in the brushstrokes of the word, the markings of their writing, the materials they are using, the scale relationships of image to text, or even the qualities of a suggested word that cannot be deciphered. 

Using the craft of ceramics often associated with the domestic, LA based artist Elyse Pignolet using words to speak to themes of misogyny and inequality within the framework of vases and dishes glazed with traditional, delicate, organic patterns in blue. 


Elyse Pignolet

You're Too Emotional, 2019

Ceramic plate with glazes

9.50 x 9.50 in


 


 

Elyse Pignolet

 

Local Bay Area artist, Lisa Espenmiller used her spiritual meditation practice in conjunction with award-winning Haiku poetry training to create works such as the powerful 2020 “clusterfuck”. The patterned and rhythmic surfaces of her drawings require the viewer to slow down, to relinquish distraction, and give each work of art full, quiet beginner’s-mind attention, using the form and context of words that speak to the cacophony of American life and its aggressive, noisy, hyper-masculine, delusional capitalist demands. The work arises from a desire to heal self and others.


Lisa Espenmiller

clusterfuck, 2020

ink on panel

24 x 20 x 2 in


 

Denver based Joel Swanson reaches for the space between words to create a context between the dichotomy of words on his small letterpress prints such as “ME/YOU”. His work ranges to large-scale neon sculptural works such as “NO/BODY” and even grander public projects. His practice is led by the philosophy that words and technology work hand in hand and there is the opportunity to expand and contract elements of words to open it up for other interpretations. He is interested in the different ways we perceive language and his artwork creates a framework to explore those tools of communication.


ME/YOU (AP/10), 2022

Letterpress on paper, Artist Proof

11.50 x 10 in

 

 

Joel Swanson

No/Body 1/3 2020

Neon, Electronics

72x12x3 in

 

 

 

Take in the charming works on London based Martha Freud whose series of ceramic vessels get right to the point. Mixing function with purpose, we can embrace spa time with a bit of consciousness of what we are all processing in today’s world! The significant work on a series of Tea Kettles were inspired by and re-imagined from “I’m a Little Teapot” a nursery rhyme written in the1930s to help children remember the steps of a tap dance to The Waltz Clog.

 

Martha Freud

For Fuck's Sake, 2022

Hand glazed porcelain vessel filled with a soy based fragranced wax

10.5x8 cm

 

Martha Freud

I Run a Tight Shipwreck, 2022

Hand glazed porcelain vessel filled with a soy based fragranced wax

14.50 x 12.50 cm

 

Martha Freud

The Time to Hesitate is Through, 2022

Black stoneware vessel with porcelain hand painted in the imprinted lettering. Filled with a soy based wax with three wicks, in Martha’s fragrance, Heart: Rose & Oud.

14.50 x 12.50 cm

Martha Freud

 

Lena Wolff is an artist activist, using powerful words to transform the election process.  
Distributing 100,000 beautiful posters encouraging voting in the up-coming elections to full-on billboards placed in key districts, Lena Wolff transforms words into action. Her interdisciplinary practice mergest craft traditions with geometric abstraction, feminist and political art.  Drawing from American quilt iconography--a medium steeping in history and political potential--her work investigates the transoformative power of shape and symbol.  This plays out not only in her hand-cut paper collages and delicate line drawings, but in her text-based work becoming additional symbols for democracy, equality and justice. 

 

 

Lena Wolff

All for One For All (/40), 2020

Letterpress Print

20 x 12 in


 

Amanda Manitach works and reworks words that manifest as she overhears conversations, reads or converses.  These words work their way into exquisite compositions, often surrounded with delicate lace or perhaps old-school wallpaper.  “I see my work as a task of both consciously and subliminally sorting out the experience of a female trying to make expressive marks—a task that has found uncanny resonance for me with the history of female hysteria. I am fascinated by history, art, the politics surrounding the female body, and by art that borders on obsessive, meditative devotion.”


Amanda Manitach

Resist Exquisitely

Graphite on Paper

19x23in

21.5 x25.50in Framed

 

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