01.02.09 Larissa Nowicki in group exhibition 'Illiterature' at Frumkin Gallery in Los Angeles

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‘Illiterature’ exhibition featuring work by Larissa Nowicki is moving from the LIMN Gallery in San Francisco to the Frumkin Gallery in Los Angeles.

February 14th – March 21st, 2009

Curated by Mark Carter.

Illiterature will feature recent works in various media that utilize text and text-like imagery for visual, graphic, illustrative and contemplative end rather than a literal dialogue.

Featuring work by Pamela Birmingham, Linda Ekstrom, Michael Joaquin Grey, Wolfgang Herbold, John Himmelfarb, Lind Hutchins, Yael Kanarek, Stephanie Lempert, Greg Milne, Megan Murphy, Larissa Nowicki, Mike Patten, Kim Rugg, Duston Spear, Mark Lawrence Stafford, Masako Takahashi and Cody Trepte.

Humans develop the propensity to recognize and read text in childhood. Our rather malleable brain, when introduced to the composition of written language, imprints the concept that symbols scribed in lines can and ought to be read. Always receptive, we easily fool ourselves into imagining legibility.

Language is one of our inventions, essential in a socially organizing species. Creating a written format was a massive forward-thinking innovation enabling communication to be preserved, transported and evolve trans-tribally. It also created a visual format which could operate as a societal inside joke. Calligraphic imagery became the basis for encoding references.

Artists enjoy exploiting our brain’s intent to make this association. Linear meanderings incite viewer tension as we strain to make sense of what we see. Doodles are read as possible hieroglyphic icons. And true text, visually comforting because of its familiarity, is exploited to become classic compositional tools of illusion as well as illustration.

Artists have used representation in their work since the earliest recorded images. The dynamic ranges from the absolute of the landscape and portrait, distorted into abstraction and finally vanishing into minimalism. But what if we consider text as another absolute form? Add to the list of subject matter; a portrait, a still-life, a nude or a verb. The exhibited text works are more optical than literary by artists who traverse this rudimentary part of our brains and invite us to meander in ours. While it’s clear that they all exhibit a love of language, they prefer to keep it at arms length.